The North Downs Way > Useful Information
|The Official Guide to the North Downs Way, by Neil Curtis and Jim Walker includes detailed directions and maps for all the walks. It is available from many bookshops and is also available from Amazon and costs £12.99. The ISBN number is 1-85410-853-0.|
Cicerone also publish a good guide to the North Downs Way also including maps.
The following web sites are also useful guides to walking the North Downs Way
I recommend the Ordnance Survey Explorer series of maps which are at a 1:25,000 scale. The following maps cover the path. All these maps are available from all good book shops nationwide and have a normal retail price of £6.99. Many can also be borrowed from libraries.
|Map No||Map Name|
|145||Guildford and Farnham|
|146||Dorking, Box Hill and Reigate|
|147||Sevenoaks and Tonbridge|
|148||Maidstone and the Medway Towns|
|137||Ashford, Headcorn, Chilham and Wye|
|138||Dover, Folkestone and Hythe|
|150||Canterbury and The Isle of Thanet|
A street-level map is also useful for finding your way around towns. I recommend the A-Z maps of Surrey and Kent which can also be purchased from local bookshops, on-line and also at motorway service stations.
In addition there are several on-line map web sites:-
A car is useful but by no means essential for getting to the North Downs Way, as the path is well served by public transport. If you are travelling by car I recommend the journey planner on The AA web site.
The North Downs Way is well-served by trains with most of the start or end points of the walks near to a railway station, many on the same line. Rail timetables can normally be obtained at stations in the area or downloaded from the relevant train operating company website. For details of the stations, and companies that serve them, see the table below. Clicking the name of the train company will take you to their website.
|Line||Main Stations near North Downs Way||Train operating company|
|London - Farnham / Alton||Farnham||South West Trains|
|Ascot - Aldershot - Guildford||Farnham, Ash, Guildford||South West Trains|
|Reading - Blackwater - Guildford - Dorking - Redhill - Gatwick Airport (The North Downs Line)||Ash, Guildford, Chilworth, Gomshall, Betchworth, Dorking West, Dorking Deepdeene, Reigate, Redhill||First Great Western Link|
|London Waterloo - Dorking||Boxhill and Westhumble, Dorking||South West Trains|
|London Victoria / London Bridge - Sutton - Dorking - Horhsham (The Mole Valley Line)||Boxhill and Westhumble, Dorking||Southern|
|London Victoria / London Bridge - Merstham - Gatwick Airport - Crawley - Horsham, Arundel - Chichester - South Coast||Merstham||Southern|
|London Bridge - Merstham - Godstone - Tonbridge - Tunbridge Wells||Merstham||South Eastern Trains|
|London Victoria / London Bridge - Oxted - Uckfield||Oxted||Southern|
|Strood - Cuxton - Maidstone - Paddock Wood - Tonbridge (The Medway Valley Line)||Cuxton, Maidstone Barracks, Maidstone West||South Eastern Trains|
|London Blackfriars / London Victoria - Catford - Beckenham - Bromley - Swanley - Otford - Sevenoaks - Maidstone - Ashford - Canterbury - Margate||Otford, Kemsing, Bourough Green and Wrotham, Maidstone East, Bearstead, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham, Lenham, Charing, Ashford International, Wye, Chilham, Chartham, Canterbury West||South Eastern Trains|
|London Charing Cross / London Cannon Street / London Bridge - Sevenoaks - Tonbridge - Ashford - Folkestone - Dover - Ramsgate - Margate||Sandling, Folkestone West, Folkestone Central, Dover Priory||South Eastern Trains|
|London Victoria - Medway Towns - Faversham - Canterbury - Dover||Canterbury East, Bekesbourne, Shepherds Well, Dover Priory||South Eastern Trains|
In addition the on-line National Rail Enquiries site at NationalRail.co.uk has a journey planner, useful information on stations, details of disruptions, engineering work, live station departures and contact details for the various train companies. In addition the National Rail Enquiries line is on 08457 484950 and is open 24 hours a day to plan rail journeys and give details of fares. You can also get real-time departure information for rail stations by sending a text message with the name of the station to 484950. You will be texted back with details of the next few departures from that station. This service costs the normal amount for a text message plus an extra charge of 25p.
Most of the North Downs Way is well served by buses. Bus services tend to change quite frequently so it's best to check before travelling. The Traveline site includes a local bus journey planner (split into the various UK regions) as well as some maps. Traveline can be contacted by telephone on 0870 608 2 608.
The National Taxi telephone number is 0800 654 321. This should connect you to a local taxi company.
The North Downs way is not an especially demanding path and so you don't need any special equipment, but you should carry waterproofs, warm clothes (especially in winter) and a map or guide. Walking boots are best (especially during the winter when the paths are often muddy), although trainers should be fine during the drier months of the year. Always carry plenty of water and a basic first-aid kit is recommended. A compass or GPS are also useful, as is a mobile phone.
The best choice of accommodation can be found in the larger towns on or near the route, such as Farnham, Guildford, Dorking, Oxted, Sevenoaks, Rochester, Maidstone, Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone and Dover. Most towns have a tourist information centre that has details of local accommodation and will normally also be able to book it for you.
If you've walked the North Downs Way you may be interested in other local footpaths. The following links provide details of some local paths and National Trails that may be of interest.
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