“They had a very fine day for Box Hill”
– Jane Austen – Emma.
As did 15 Polyramblers arriving at Dorking station and heading for the pretty village of Pixham and its Castle Mill. We crossed the millstream and admired the fast flowing weir on the River Mole before tackling the southern flank of Box Hill. The final short steep climb of which brought us to the iconic Salomons Memorial with its panoramic views across the woodlands and fields of Surrey. We took an unscheduled stop at the National Trust cafe to meet up with a member who had missed the train, before walking through woods to Juniper Top, the site of the protagonist Emma Woodhouse’s picnic in Jane Austen’s novel, where we too enjoyed our picnic. The views were stunning and Geoffrey was inspired to entertain us with his lively rendition of Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’.
We walked off our lunch with a descent to Juniper Bottom and a steeper ascent back, via steps, to the woodland at the top of Box Hill. Passing the circular flint tower, Broadwood’s Folly, we made our way back once again to the cafe to retrieve another Polyrambler who had experienced travel problems. After for many of us a second ice cream of the day we set off through the woods to the famous “Whites” of Box Hill. En route we passed the unusual gravestone marking where Major Peter Labelliere, an eccentric Dorking resident, was buried head downwards. Descending on chalky slopes we passed by Rykas cafe, a popular venue for motorcyclists, and made our way back via West Humble village and a footpath through the vineyards of the Denbies Estate to Dorking station.
Jennifer. Photos by Nita.