Westhumble - North Downs Way - Polesden Lacey - Westhumble
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The walk starts in the attractive village of Westhumble, on the edge of the North Downs where the Mole Valley cuts through the hills. The route has something different to offer at almost any time of the year: bluebells in spring, bright blue skies and wonderful views in summer and the chance to picnic and the golden colours of autumn.
You head out through Westhumble and join the North Downs Way. Beginning in Farnham, the trail follows the line of the North Downs eastwards close to Guildford, Dorking and Reigate to reach the Kent border and thereafter it passes close to Rochester, crosses the River Medway and continues along the downs to end at either Canterbury or Dover. Much of the trail follows the legendary Pilgrims Way, used by those making pilgrimages to pray at holy shrines. History doesn't record how different the pilgrims felt when they were heading back west, if you wondered! Spiritually enriched? Ripped off by the touts at Canterbury? Unimpressed by the lack of signposts at crucial points?
The views after Waymark 4 towards the South Downs are spectacular. A good picnic spot with a view is Steer's Field (Waymark 20).
Your furthest point is Polesden Lacey, with its stunning location on the crest of a hidden valley of the downs. Originally a Regency house built in 1821, it enjoyed its heyday in the Edwardian period of a hundred years ago when it was extensively rebuilt by society hostess Mrs Ronald Greville, becoming the scene of many glamorous house parties. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spent part of their honeymoon there in 1923. Now one of the jewels in the National Trust's crown, it's a very popular spot for families and walkers.
The return leg of the walk skirts the NT grounds and takes you along paths and lanes on the north slopes of the ridge. As you approach Westhumble, there are views ahead across the Mole Gap to Box Hill. This dramatic landscape has inspired writers, poets and artists and Box Hill features in Jane Austen's novel 'Emma'.
England - South England - Surrey - North Downs
Birds, Church, Gift Shop, Great Views, Hills or Fells, National Trust, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, Stately Home, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
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