The 66 mile Vanguard Way links East Croydon in Surrey with Newhaven on the south coast. It was devised in 1980 by members of the Vanguards Rambling Club, which was based in Croydon and begins at East Croydon railway station. 14 Poly Ramblers set off from East Croydon station to cross the many tram lines to walk through the residential outskirts of Croydon and reach the open space of Lloyd Park. We passed some strange gadgets consisting of a metal basket on a pole with a ring of chains and yellow band for flying disc golf. At this point we slightly diverted from the Vanguard way to re-join it at Coombe Wood. We stopped at a garden centre before following the excellent Vanguard Way signage to reach Littleheath woods. We continued uphill before reaching our lunch stop in playing fields, a lovely sunny spot with plenty of benches, then uphill to a junction where the London Loop came in. As we came out of the woods we were standing at the boundary between the wards of Addington and Selsdon so the road had different names Selsdon Park road to the left Addington Road to the right. At this point Harriet decided to take a bus back to give her knee a much-needed rest. We followed our route reaching a gap into Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve. On exiting the reserve, we left the London Borough of Croydon and entered the Tandridge District in the county of Surrey. We turned up Baker Boy Lane joining the Tandridge Border Path with Puplet Woods to our left followed by Farleigh Court Golf Club and then along a narrow path between fences. We all enjoyed our tea stop at the church of St Mary the Virgin. The tea organisers had prepared tables for us and we had an eye watering choice of at least six different cakes. We were treated to guitar playing in the church yard. We were also given a tour of the beautiful 13th century church. It clearly was a very popular venue as we had been overtaken by a number of car drivers on route, rushing to the tea stop. We completed our walk to catch the bus back to East Croydon Station. A very satisfying 1st stage of the Vanguard Way which had very clear signage hopefully to be continued for our next stage.
Hilary and Susan.