In the run-up to our big hiking trip in June, we’ve been embarking on roughly one hike per month here in the UK in addition to our training in the gym. For February’s hike, Andrew chose a route that would be easy to get to from London, offer us some climbs, and challenge us in terms of distance. Using our beloved Saturday Walker’s Club website, he Frankensteined a couple Saturday walks to create our route from Leatherhead to Leith Hill.
We used this hike as a chance to practice hiking with weight. We may have been a bit ambitious in packing our bags for this one. Since we were hiking just after the “Beast from the East” covered London and the UK in snow, I filled my bag with lots of layers, in addition to some other items added just for their weight. I came to regret that choice around mile 12 or so!
We were a little bit nervous the snow might affect our hike or our route, but it ended up being really lovely. It melted throughout the day, so we were able to enjoy the beauty of the snowy countryside in the morning and the sunshine in the afternoon. It was a long day, but like our other hikes, it was a fabulous day spent in the English countryside.
Leatherhead to Box Hill
We roughly followed the route of the Saturday Waker’s Club Box Hill to Leatherhead walk backwards. We got off the train in Leatherhead and made our way to the trail through a series of beautiful paths along the river.
We even saw a heron!
Spirits were high as we began our trek.
The route took us through the beautiful Mickleham Downs. We saw more creatures like cows and sheep and ponies!
This was the easiest and flattest part of the route and it was beautiful. The sun was shining and we made good time through this part of our journey.
After passing through Mickleham, we came upon the downs and started the first of several climbs of the day.
The biggest climb was to the top of Juniper Top in Box Hill Country Park. Several families had made the climb to enjoy sledding at the top!
From there, we descended and then ascended Box Hill. There was more sledding happening here, yet there was next to no snow… Toto, we are not in New England anymore!
The views, however, were beautiful.
After this hill was a new and exciting part of the trail – the Stones Walk!
They were more slippery than they look! With a backpack that made them a little tricky, but definitely fun to cross. The water wasn’t deep but it moved quickly which made it a little more exciting.
This marked the end of our first trail as we walked into Dorking.
Dorking to Leith Hill
For this section of our walk, we used the Saturday Walker’s Club Greensand Way 3 : Gomshall to Dorking Walk as our inspiration, again going in the opposite direction. We’d already been hiking in Gomshall and the route was already becoming quite long, so we decided to end our route at the Ockney train station.
Dorking wasn’t all that exciting, but it is home to a vineyards. I had heard of Dunbies on Travelzoo and really hope to visit there soon.
We cut through some office parks and made our way along the High Street to get to our trail. Yes, we were the only people on Dorking High Street with giant backpacks, ha!
We made great time on the first part of our hike, but after Dorking is where I started to get tired.
We passed through neighborhoods, greenery and pastures, and then walked along Westscott Heath, where we stopped for lunch. Then we got on the Greensand Way and walked towards Broadmoor.
We took a detour to Friday Street to Stephan Langton Inn.
We stopped into their pub for a cup of tea and a half pint. We normally would have stopped here for lunch, but the kitchen was closed that week. It was a lovely place and we met their nice dog, Teasel! So cute. At this point I thought we had our biggest climb left and a few miles to go before it, so I was a little afraid I wasn’t going to make it to the end of our hike.
But, I carried on. After our tea, we put on our backpacks and headed out once more. We got back on the Greensand Way toward Leith Hill.
A while into our walk, I had to give up some of the weight in my pack to Andrew. Thankfully, he took my iPad and we kept on toward Leith Hill. The hill itself was not that bad at all compared to some of the other climbs we had made that day. A huge relief!
It was pretty cool but foggy, so the view was obstructed. We decided not to climb the tower, but I did stop by the little shop inside to buy an ice cream. Ice cream makes tired feet happier.
As we began our descent, the sky started to get a bit darker. Rain was on the way, but luckily we were getting close to our end point.
Our hike got pretty exciting from this point. We walked along some trails to a field (with some sheep in it), but then realized we needed to get across the field.
So we jumped that fence. Turns out the fence was electrified and we both got zapped on the way in (me because I have short legs and Andrew because he was trying to hold it down for my short legs to make it over!! Haha). I spent the whole walk across the field terrified I would get zapped again, but I took off my backpack to be more nimble and survived without a shock.
After a couple more minutes, it started to rain. We made our way to Ockley from there via the country roads, but there are better trails if you have more time than us. We made our train and on the train we realized we had walked TWENTY MILES with our giant packs. It was a long one, but a successful one!