Glad of a slightly later start, 18 Polyramblers gathered at Chessington South Station at 10.20 to begin the 9 mile walk to Cheam.
The first section traversed several nature reserves following the Bonesgate Stream into Horton Country Park and then into the woods of Castle Hill Nature Reserve, Hogsmill Riverside Nature Reserve and followed part of the London Loop. The path was strewn with yellow leaves, flat and easy to follow and not too muddy. This is a varied walk, mainly in open spaces with plenty of historical interest and all within the zone 6 boundary.
After crossing Moor Lane and a comfort stop at the William Bourne Pub the walk continued on the Hogsmill Walk Path through woods and fields and finally entering Ewell Court Park. After a slight overshoot the walk picked up the path again and left the park passing the 18 century Pack Horse Bridge which is a listed building. We crossed the Hogsmill river on some man-made stepping- stones and then went under the railway line through a low tunnel and on until we reached Chessington Road. After a tricky crossing we entered Bourne Hall Park where we stopped for a picnic lunch and a hot drink at the coffee shop in the museum/library. The Library was built in 1970 and granted Grade II listed status for its ‘space age flair’.
After lunch we said goodbye to Mick and Dolly who headed home via Ewell West station and we retraced our steps back to the road and round the corner to enter the churchyard of St. Mary the Virgin. The path went through the 18th Century graveyard and past the 15th Century bell tower which is all that remains of the original old 12th Century church.
A short alleyway led us to a gap in the hedge just by the central island of Ewell-By-Pass, which we crossed safely to continue into Nonsuch park which was the site of Henry VIII’s palace although all that remains are the stumps of the Nonsuch Palace Banqueting Hall. We continued through Warren Farm (Woodland Trust) which covers 21 hectares of undeveloped farmland, open grassland and areas of native trees until reaching the Nonsuch Manor House and formal gardens where there were still some plants in flower!. The final part of the walk went through Cheam Park and up Park Lane lined with charming 19th Century white weatherboard cottages. The lane ended at the Whitehall a fantastically preserved Tudor cottage where we had an interesting short tour and delicious homemade cakes in the coffee shop.
Rochelle, Photos by Ida and Stuart