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Gomshall - Westhumble

Gomshall to Westhumble Picture
The North Downs Way > Gomshall to Westhumble

Introduction

This walk begins in the pretty village of Gomshall, just to the south of the North Downs Way. The path climbs upto the North Downs Way near Hackhurst Downs, before opening out to give excellent views over towards Dorking. After walking through woodland for a while, the path comes to Ranmore Common, with the beautiful church of St Barnabas. From Ranmore Common the North Downs Way passes through DenbiesWine Estate where the are excellent views to Box Hill. The path descends down to the foot of Boxhill, just to the south of the village of Westhumble.

Getting to the Start

Gomshall is on the A25 Guildford to Dorking road. There is a free car park at the station, up a hill just before the rail bridge if approaching from the Guildford direction or just after if approaching from the Dorking direction.

If you're traveling by public transport, there is a station at Gomshall, on the North Downs Line, operated by First Great Western Link. Off peak, there is a train in each direction once every two hours, seven days a week. Alternatively, Arriva bus service 32 and 21 runs every 30 minutes between Guildford and Dorking, with service 32 continuing onto Redhill.

The Walk

The pretty village of Gomshall is the starting point for this walk. The village has a small shop and several pubs, and is on the banks of the Tillingbourne River.

Gomshall Gomshall
Gomshall Gomshall

To get to the North Downs Way, walk through the village heading towards Guildford and take the first road on the right. There is a footpath signed off to the right as the path begins to climb, near Churchfield Farm. The path climbs steeply, but there are excellent views of the surrounding countryside and some pretty gorse.

Climbing out of Gomshall Gorse on the path near Gomshall
Climbing out of Gomshall Gorse on the path near Gorse Gomshall

The path meats the North Downs Way near Hackhurst Downs, turn right and the path soon opens up, giving excellent views to the South.

Panoramic photo, near Hackhurst Downs
Panoramic views from near Hackhurst Downs
View from near Hackhurst Downs View from near Hackhurst Downs
View from near Hackhurst Downs View from near Hackhurst Downs

The path continues through woodland, where there are occasional views to the South. You pass several brick bunkers on this part of the path.

Passing through woodland A brick bunker.
Passing through woodland. A brick bunker.

The path opens up again after a while, giving excellent views of the South Downs and the fields below.

Passing through woodland A brick bunker.
The view opposite Coomb Farm The view opposite Coomb Farm

From Coomb Farm the path again passes through woodland (where there were some pretty bluebells when I did the walk), before opening up again to the south of Ranmore Common, giving views towards Dorking.

The North Downs Way in the woodland Bluebells.
The North Downs Way in Woodland Bluebells
A rotting tree in the woods. The view towards Dorking from opposite Landbarn Farm
A rotting tree in the woods. The view towards Dorking from opposite Landbarn Farm.
The view towards Landbarn Farm
The view towards Landbarn Farm

After again passing through some woodland the path comes out into open land at the National Trust owned Steer's Field, to the south of Ranmoor Common. Here there are again excellent views towards Dorking and also back towards Gomshall.

Bluebells in the Wood View from Steer's Field
Bluebells in the Wood View from Streer's Field
View from Steer's Field
View from Streer's Field

The path descends from Steeer's FIeld towards St Barnabas Church, Ranmore, The church of the North Downs Way, which was built in 1860. To get to it, you need to cross a fairly busy road, but then the path continues on a quiet lane past the church.

St Barnabas Church Inside St Barnabas Church
St Barnabas Church Inside St Barnabas Church
View of St Barnabas Church
View of St Barnabas Church

At the end of the lane from the Church the path continues down a road marked as Private Drive, and through some large gates into the grounds of the Denbies Vineyard. As you walk through the Vineyard you get good views of Dorking to the right, over the fields and straight ahead, good views of Boxhill. I was a bit surprised to come across a road train, but this was operating a tour of the vineyard.

View of Dorking Dorking from the Vineyard
View of Dorking Dorking from the Vineyard
Boxhill from the Vineyard Boxhill
Boxhill from the Vineyard Boxhill

Once through the Vineyard the path meets the busy A24. The North Downs Way follows this road North (there is a pavement) towards the village of Westhumble, where there is an underpass. I finished the walk at Westhumble village, a small but pretty village. As I had around 30 minutes to wait for a train from Boxhill and Westhumble Station, I found there was a pretty area of open space near the banks of the river Mole that was open to walk through (Foxbury Shaw). The Thames Downs walk also passes through Westhumble, joining the Thames Path with the North Downs Way.

Westhumble Chapel Foxbury Shaw, near Westhumble
Westhumble Chapel Foxbury Shaw, near Westhumble
Foxbury Shaw Foxbury Shaw
Foxbury Shaw A lamb and mother at Foxbury Shaw
Boxhill and Westhumble Station
Boxhill and Westhumble Station

Getting Back

There is a station in Westhumble, known as Boxhill and Westhumble. It's an attractive station and even has a log fire in the waiting room. It is on the London Victoria to Horsham line, with one train per hour off-peak, operated by Southern. At busier times there are also trains to London Waterloo. From Boxhill and Westhumble station, take a train south to Dorking, where it is a short walk to Dorking Deepdene station, on the North Downs Line. From Dorking Deepdene there is a train once every two hours to Gomshall, operated by First Great Western Link.

If you prefer to travel by bus, number 456 operated by Tellings Golden Miller on behalf of Transport for London runs from Fulwell to Dorking, running on the A24 road - there is even a North Downs Way stop where the path joins the road. It runs every 30 minutes Monday - Saturday and hourly on Sundays. From Dorking, Arriva runs a bus service to Gomshall, on routes 21 and 32, but there are also evening buses on this route, operated by Northdown.

Links

The following web sites provide information on the area.


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