Covid-19 Guided Walk for One. Number 3: The Bluebell Walk

Posted on 17/05/2020 By

Number 3: The Bluebell Walk

Some beautiful Bluebells on a sloping bank underneath some trees seen on the Bluebell Walk.

Head shot of Bertie looking to the right.Bertie: “Cor, I dunno! First of all he tells us he hated Holmwood Common. Then out of the blue (literally), he discovers he loves it. Writes a whole blog on it, that lots of people liked. Then he comes home and declares “That’s bleedin it. I‘m not going over there again for a while!”

It seems that the fine weather, the closeness of the common to local villages and the outskirts of Dorking had made it very popular during the Covid-19 crisis. The peace and beauty of the circular trail featured in Part 2 by the story had been ruined by too many cyclists and runners oblivious to the rules on social distancing or indeed common decency. Dogs seemed to be everywhere. But you know him. Here was an opportunity to walk a bit further in the opposite direction. Back to his favourite countryside in the Surrey Hills. This time to the hill country leading to Leith Hill and its famous tower. And the bluebell walk. Walking to the Landslip Car Park featured in Frank’s Walk.

Not to go on that walk this time, which starts with a drive to the car park. But rather walk to it through glorious countryside and numerous bluebell woods.

Once again this is a virtual walk starting at Laurel Cottage.If you choose to actually walk it you will need a map. Or Bobby.

The start. Laurel Cottage (LC) with the wisteria in full flower and "Bertie's Window", dedicated to rainbows from grandchildren and the NHS.

The start. Laurel Cottage (LC) with the wisteria in full flower and “Bertie’s Window”, dedicated to rainbows from grandchildren for the NHS.

View across the wild flowers meadow to St Mar Magdelene Church.

There’s St Mary Magdalene Church and wild flowers meadows leading to it.

A rather wizzened and wind-swept tree.

Betchetts Green Road and a cock-eyed tree.

Bechets Green House, and black and white timber framed building.

Betchets Green. A 16th Century listed building with a dark secret. A murder took place there in 1992. The full details are on the internet if your macabre side has been awakened.

New leaves on a pair of tiny oak saplings just poking up out of the grass.

From tiny acorns great oaks grow.

This bluebell walk is quite different to the other walks in this series. as they were entirely on National Trust (NT) land. There are still lots of private estates in Surrey where public footpaths cross private land. The paths are maintained by Surrey County Council (SCC), whose priorities are different to the NT. In general, the NT has responsibilities to improve accessibility to their properties, including the open countryside. The same responsibilities are much more difficult to achieve with the local authority.

The most notable consequence of this is that the NT is actively replacing stiles with galvanised kissing gates and ordinary gates. This would be impractical in many parts of the public footpath network. Here, the responsibility to SCC is for the quality and safety of the existing locations of stiles. In practise, on our walk there was quite a lot of variation. Good quality stiles should always have a tall post for stability. Some have far too high a reach for little legs (or old ones) to negotiate. And some have barbed wire and electric fences a little too close for comfort. To be fair, there were no broken or dangerous stiles throughout this walk. But some needed a good leg up.

Anstie Grange House.

The first estate. Here is the lodge for the Anstie Estate. Anstie Grange is a stately home currently split into apartments. I see the entire estate is up for sale with a suggestion that the Grange could be taken back to being one large house with a lot of work involved. There is also a Farm up this access lane…

Inquisitve Friesian Cows.

…with inquisitive cows.

Delicate blue Speedwell flowers.

Speedwell.

A carpet of Bluebells under young trees.

The first Bluebell wood – just ten minutes from LC.

A very large tree stump with a big hole at ground level.

Trolls live in here. The grandchildren told us.

The cone-shaped white flowers of the Horse Chestnut.

Flowering Horse Chestnut.

The paradoxically vivid blue flowers of the Green Alkanet.

Green Alkanet.

Bluebell Wood. A carpet of blue flowers within the woodland.

The second Bluebell Wood.

Bearehurst Lodge.

The next estate. Bearehurst Lodge leading to the big house. Currently on the market for £6.5 million. The lodge itself at £1.6 million. Could be out of date websites, but indicative. The footpath turns right just passed the garden of the lodge.

A lovely calm lake, with grass on one side and overhanging trees on the other.

Bearehurst Lake…

Greylag Geese on the grassy bank.

…and its residents.

A style on the pathway, with a good tall pole alongside for support.

Fine. With a good size pole.

An expanse of open field on the pathway, with the Bluebell Woods on the left.

Starting the climb. Bluebell woods on the left.

Two horses, and gery and a brown with a white blaze on its nose, resting in the shade of a tree.

Horse country. Good views to the North Downs towards Reigate.

Bluebells under some fairly mature trees.

Higher and higher. Here come the bluebells!

 

A magnificent carpet of Bluebells in a wooded area, with a bench to sit on.

The target on this Bluebell walk. The bench close to the Landslip car park.

Plaque on the seat that reads "This seat was presented by the National Trust in moemory of Frank Longhurst who worked in the woods in the Leith Hill area from the First World War until his death in 1979".

Remember Frank’s walk? This was Frank.

Bobby's lunch, consisting of bite size pieces of fruit in a square white bowl, along with his walking sticks resting on the bench.

Time for lunch on Frank’s Bench.

Bobby looking out over the Bluebell Woods.

And a little serenity in paradise. The Landslip woods.

He didn’t go round Frank’s Walk. You can read all about it from last year. Instead he had a choice of routes back to LC. Spoilt for that choice, and faced with the glorious weather forecast to last just three more days until heavy rain, he went back twice more. Each time a different route. Unforgettable and immortalised in this blog. What follows is some pictures from all of them. All of them centred on Coldharbour.

Leafy tree-lined country lane and the road sign for Coldharbour.

Coldharbour Village.

The Chocolate Box approach to Coldharbour on the winding single track road.

The Plough, Coldharbour.

The Plough, Coldharbour. Nice pub in better times. The produce shop next door is open for two hours a day during the lockdown.

Sign for the Plough Inn. Free House.

The road out of Coldharbour.

Leaving the village.

White Cottages, Coldharbour. 1640.

White Cottages, Coldharbour. 1640.

Open countryside outside Coldharbour. A T-Junction and wooden signpost.

Opposite White Cottages, towards the North Downs.

Copper Beech treet.

Copper Beech, Coldharbour.

Looking down the North Downs. A very blue sky with ancient farm buildings and a few trees in the distance.

Looking east towards the North Downs towards Reigate. In front, Anstiebury Farm. Some of the building 17C. What a view they have east.

A rusty old metal "Public Footpath" sign, almost buried in the overgrowth.

The sign to Kitlands, by the Plough. I wonder how old. 1950? Older?

Bluebell carpet amongst mature trees.

Down towards Kitlands.

Close up of a large patch of Bluebells at the foot of a mature tree.

Further down!

Stylish low wooden gate across the entrance to Kitlands Estate.

Kitlands Estate.

Stiles or Gates.

A good stile. Two steps. A stabilising pole. A dog gate.

A good stile. Two steps. A stabilising pole. A dog gate.

Bobby's leg as he climbs over a stile.

A bad stile. No post and even Daddy Long Legs struggled over this!

A stile alongside a metal farmer's gate between fields.

Not bad, but see what happens the other side of this field.

A brand new galvanised kissing gate.

Into an NT owned woodland. Near LC. Betchetts Brook Field. A brand new galvanised kissing gate. Goodbye stile.

Sign pointing off the narrow country lane to "Trout Grange". A private estate with a Public footpath.

Footpath across a field with a lovely old tree leaning over it at a slight angle.

Nearly home.

A simple narrow footbridge made of a substantial plank of wood with hand rails made from scaffold poles.

And over another “Troll Bridge”.

The window at Laurel Cottage with Trevor, Eamonn and Bertie sat amongst all the rainbows, etc.

Back to the bears. Stay safe. Thank you NHS. “Live for Today”.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley

A candle lit for Diddley in a beautiful mug with painted Bluebells around the outside.

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CountrysideTrees and NatureWildlife    


  1. Love the pics… not sure about the one with a leg though

  2. Avatar Chris Norman says:

    Love your pictures

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