It's quite a demanding hike with climbs that can make you short of breath, but equaly reward you with views that will take your breath away.
Time: It should take around 3 hours, but allow extra time for stops and lunch. You should consider yourself commited for the day.
Lenght: 10 kilometres
Ascent: 352 metres
Descent: 468 metres
Lunch: We will stop for food at the end of the walk, so you may need some sandwiches to keep you going. I have booked a table at The Stepping Stones pub for 3pm. Please email them at [masked] with your order - to make sure they can prepare quickly for you.
Meeting point: We will meet at Clapham Junction Station at the main entrance, next to the ticket offices. It's the one that goes out to St John's Hill, with the Sainsbury's, Costa and Cafe Nero.
Fee: £12.80 includes the hike, train ticket and pay pal fees.
Difficulty: It is strenuous; climbing steep hills and dropping into deep valleys. The ground is rough in places and includes steep slopes, slippery paths and many steps. Please make sure you have suitable clothing, footwear and provisions. It can be very muddy at times, so good walking shoes are necessary.
Transport: We will be taking a train from Clapham Junction to Boxhill and Westhumble. The train leaves at 9:48 and takes 48minutes direct. We will arrive at our destination at 10:36am. Train tickets are included in the price.
Drivers: It's a circular walk, so if you drive you can meet us at Boxhill & Westhumble station, however you will have to sort out your parking and make sure you are there on time as we will only wait from 10:36am till 10:45am as it would not be fair to keep the entire group waiting any longer. I would suggest that if you drive you aim to arrive at least half an hour early to allow for any traffic/parking issues. The price is the same whether you are driving or taking the train.
I will be wearing a curious Kat's T-shirt and will be at the meeting point since 9:25am. Please be there sharp on time. We will make our way to the platform at 9:35am. If you are late I'm afraid we will not be able to wait but you will be welcome to catch up with us at the platform or at the destination.
If you have any problems please give me a call on[masked] . If you are trying to call and not getting through, this may be becasue 15 other people are also calling me to ask for the way, so please send me a text. As it gets quite hectic when everyone starts arriving and looking for the meeting point, please don't email me or leave a voice mail as I will not have time to check it until after the hike. If you realise last minute that you can not make it - please change your RSVP and text me.
Weather: Please make sure that you are dressed appropriately to the weather (make sure to bring either you waterproofs or a sunscreen). We will not cancel the trip unless the conditions make it dangerous for us to make the walk. If the trip was cancelled you would of course be refunded.
IMPORTANT: By taking part in this meet-up you agree to the following disclaimer: I acknowledge that hiking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. My decision to voluntarily participate in these activities is an informed decision and I am aware of and shall accept such risks. I agree to be responsible for my own actions and involvement in these activities. The organiser does not take any responsibility for my safety.
River Mole Stepping Stones:
There are different stories behind the name 'Mole'. The river may be named after the burrowing animal, as some stretches flow underground during dry periods. Another theory is that it is named after the Roman word for mill (mola).
Seventeen hexagonal stepping stones cross the river at the foot of Box Hill. If you are feeling nimble, hop across the stepping stones, looking out for fish on your way. You might be lucky enpough to see the electric-blue flash of a kingfisher darting past.
The Tower or Broadwood's Folly:
The Tower was built by Thomas Broadwood, a member of the family that manufactured quality pianos, including royal commissions. Built around 1815 it stands above Juniper Hall, the family home.
The tree now growing through the tower is an evergreen Holm Oak. This non-native species wasn't planted in the tower, but probably grew from a seed dropped by a passing bird.
The Box Hill Fort:
The fort was built in the late 1800s during a crisis period in British history. It was part of London defence scheme, literally a last ditch attempt to save the capital of the empire.
The nineteenth century saw revolutionary changes in military hardware and tactics. On the oceans wood and sail were giving way to steel and steam, large artilery guns were becoming more accurate and more destructive, infantry rifles became quicker to reload. Britan's construction of modern warship had not kept pace with her enemies, particularly the French. British forces were spread thinly across huge empire and London was vulenrable to invasion. If London fell, the whole empire was likely to follow. The capital had to be protected whilst naval forces were bolstered.
Box Hill was one of thirteen military instalations forming a series of defence seventy two miles long, known as London Defence Scheme. It was designed as a last ditch stop line to protect London from south and east.
Now referred to as Forts, these structures were oryginally comissioned as Mobilisation Centres. They were designed as supply depots, providing tools and ammunition to regular soldiers, volunteers and contracted labour.
The whole hillside would have been a line of defence and soldiers could be moved quickly along trenches to counter any enemy advance. The soldiers would have been in a very strong position, being equipped with rapid firing rifles, protected by an earth trench and occupying high ground.