On January 28th, 16 of us set off from Oxted on a circular walk to Woldingham. It had been a tricky walk to plot, needing two, and then a third walkovers, but all was fine on the day; the leader didn’t take any wrong turnings and no one was left behind on the bits that weren’t clear.
The morning was fine and after a few hours we felt the surprisingly warm sun on our faces and dared to remove a layer or two. We made our way through meadows & light woodland, crossing the A22 with no casualties, to Godstone where the winter chill re-asserted itself, so we had quick sandwiches by the pond and warmed up in the pub or cafe.
After that it was over the M25 & up into the beautiful Surrey hills. We should have followed the North Downs Way through the woods for a mile or two but on the walkover, there was a huge police presence blocking the way into the woods and tape everywhere, marking it as a crime scene. A dog-walker had been killed there by her charges the day before and, naturally, no one was allowed in, so one of the very helpful policemen showed us how to detour around it. On the walk day, not wanting to get lost in the woods, we kept to the detour.
After re-crossing the A22 the more serious hills started but that was well worth the slog because of the lovely views once we were out of the valley. Near the end there was a fairly steep and slippery descent which people took at whatever pace suited their techniques. Some went faster & caught the earlier train & the rest of us took our time and enjoyed the really lovely late-afternoon light over the hills. Surprisingly, trains seemed to be running on time with no announcements about not stopping at certain scheduled stations, for no given reason, which made a very nice change.
Harriet. Photos by Ida and Stuart