Covid-19 Guided Walk for One. Number 1: Denbies Hillside Nature Trail.
Number 1: Denbies Hillside Nature Trail
We live in strange times. It seems only right that Mindfully Bertie should bring you some sunshine. There has been plenty this week as we write this. At present, the government is allowing us one walk, cycle ride a day. We thought you could use your daily walk with a guide in beautiful places. So this is our attempt to do just that. Possibly one per fortnight, knowing full well that none of us know what tomorrow brings. Even if the walk is not possible in a few days time, you can keep it for the future or walk it virtually through the pictures. And good luck to us all.
NOTE: In the short spell in which this story was walked and written, it now has to be rewritten or abandoned altogether. The latter was unthinkable. So here is the score.
Denbies Hillside car park, along with all National Trust countryside car parks, is now closed. It is alongside a busy country road. The police were there yesterday, as cars are being parked causing an obstruction. So the walk is from the car park, but how you get there is up to you. If you look at the map, the walk is a circuit and there are other places to access it. Not necessarily by car. We are not encouraging anyone into illegal or inappropriate action. Our wish is that you enjoy the walk, if only by the pictures.
Covid-19 Denbies Hillside Nature Trail
The National Trust has an excellent online leaflet and you are recommended to read it before the walk. The walk itself is described here. Ours is a pictorial walk.
The yellow route is the Nature Trail.
The start. Steer’s Field, with enticing views south towards the Greensand Ridge and beyond to the South Downs. Look carefully in the gap on the horizon and you may see Leith Hill Tower. Highest point in the South East of England.
Follow the orange way markers and you wont go wrong. Check the NT online leaflet for descriptions relating to the numbers.
Looking west to Blackdown.
Walking east towards Dorking.
Still eastwards down into the woods.
Turning west onto the carriage road. Built for the Denbies estate, to link with their farm at Landbarn.
Out into the open for glorious views of the hillside. The railway line (on the left) described by Michael Portillo as one of the most beautiful in Britain.
Short cut back to the car park. Steep climb. Even steeper, when you consider Bobby and the NT volunteers built it.
Way marker No 3. Check the NT Denbies Hillside Nature Trail leaflet.
See the historic fencing (details later).
Old Man’s Beard (Clematis).
That fencing again!
Stop and look. Listen to the birds. Watch out for Buzzards, Red Kite maybe, Kestrels, Ravens – even a Goshawk.
The historic fencing was installed in 1860 and is till intact after 160 years. The posts are set on sockets in the ground. Even the cables are original. Morton of Liverpool.
In places with modern regulations and conditions to uphold, the NT has been forced to erect modern stock-proof fencing.
Still heading west on the carriage road, you come to this magnificent sculpture. Read the website all about it. But in short it represents the symbiotic life story of the Adonis blue butterfly which this hillside is famous for.
From ant to pupa to horseshoe vetch to …
… BUTTERFLY. Minus antennae that are constantly nicked and no longer replaced.
Read all about this here!
Still heading west. Notice way marker. Soon to turn right. Uphill and back to the hillside.
Amber… A wonderful pointer, enjoying the trail.
Seen better days.
Heading north-east, back onto the hillside. Position 5 for the NT Denbies Hillside Nature Trail leaflet.
A lot of Yew trees …
… and wild Violet.
Heading eastward, uphill. Dorking to the right.
Snarled old Yew.
There’s Dorking. Our home town.
Through the gate, uphill into the woods.
First Cowslip (rotten picture). Thousands later.
Pulsatilla. Just one. Should it be here?
Lots of fallen trees in the woods. Victims of storms in times gone by…
… but still alive and regenerating from the roots still attached to the ground.
See how shallow the soil is here on the North Downs overlaying chalk. Instead of downwards, the roots go sideways and are vulnerable in storms to being ripped up.
Lots more Wood Anemones in the woods here.
Bluebell wood. Two, maybe, three weeks.
Back to Steer’s Field now. On the North Downs Way.
Pilgrims come wind come weather. Dedicated to …
… The Reverend John Hargreaves and Diana. He was once Canon of Sevenoaks. When they moved in next door to Bobby and I they became…
Cannon And Ball! And lovely neighbours.
There’s a video of this robin singing near the end of the walk. For another story.
The end of the walk. St Barnabas. A small church, with a 700 feet steeple seen for miles around. “The Church on the North Downs Way”.
First butterfly of the summer. Peacock (rotten picture)! Lovely butterfly.
Don’t forget. one day we will meet again. Maybe on Denbies Hillside. Hope so.
Lighting a candle to Diddley