What we're about

ABOUT

LOVE TO HIKE caters for more experienced 'long haul' hikers who prefer longer, harder, faster hikes. No other group hikes as far as often as Love To Hike and no other group has such a large a repertoire of different routes as Love To Hike.

All Love To Hikes are set in the magnificent countryside to the west and south of London. All routes start and finish from a train station and include scheduled indoor toilet stops wherever possible. Love To Hikes are a minimum of 15 miles (25 kilometres) and a maximum of 30 miles (50 kilometres). Nevertheless, most of the Love To Hikes are between 15 to 20 miles (25 to 32 kilometres). This means that even in the middle of winter, Love To Hike goes further than the best of the rest manage at the height of summer.

There is a Love To Hike most weekends throughout the year and whatever the weather, we hike. Love To Hikes generally alternate between Saturdays and Sundays. We hike at a sensible brisk pace of around three miles (five kilometres) per hour and ‘hunt the hills’. The maximum number for a Love To Hike is 20.

You can also find and like Love To Hike's Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/52795450807... (https://www.facebook.com/groups/527954508076020/)

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WEEKENDS

LOVE TO HIKE's weekends are generally considered to be the best organised hiking weekends around. The weekends already confirmed for 2020 are: Easter Bank Holiday long weekend on the Lands' End Peninsula (April 10 - April 13) and the Big Black Mountains Challenge weekend (May 15-17).

Previous weekends have included: Big Black Mountains Challenge, Vanguard Way, Isle of Wight Coastal Path, New Forest, Brecon Beacons, Gower Peninsula, Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, Jurassic Coast, Snowdonia, Exmoor and Hadrian's Wall Path.

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LOVE TO HIKERS

LOVE TO HIKE appeals to lovers of the great outdoors who are already ‘fit to hike’ rather than novices aspiring to walk to get fit. Love To Hike is a mini United Nations attracting a broad mix of hikers with a shared passion for exploring beautiful countryside. Love To Hikers are mainly based in and around Greater London although there are members living as far afield as Australia, Kenya, Mongolia, Singapore and the USA.

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GROUP LEADER

LOVE TO HIKE is run by Paul New. Paul has led over 300 day hikes. Paul has hiked on every continent and has a reputation for leading longer, harder, faster hikes.

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During the week, Paul is a freelance strategy consultant who works at board level with many well-known blue chips companies. Paul has an economics degree from Cambridge University. In his spare time, he is a ‘hunt the hills’ road cyclist, mountain biker and one of the regulars at his local gym.

COTSWOLD 15% DISCOUNT

LOVE TO HIKERS enjoy a special 15% members only discount both in-store and online when shopping at Cotswold Outdoor. Just quote AF-LTH-M6.

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DASH4IT.co.uk ADDITIONAL 5% DISCOUNT

LOVE TO HIKERS enjoy an additional 5% off the online map superstore's already deep discounted prices. Use code L2H5 to buy a new latest edition Ordnance Survey Explorer map complete with mobile download for only £5.12!

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FURTHER INFORMATION

Click to read our Testimonials (https://www.meetup.com/Love-To-Hike/pages/Testimonials/) , Disclaimer (https://www.meetup.com/Love-To-Hike/pages/Disclaimer/) and get answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (https://www.meetup.com/Love-To-Hike/pages/Frequently_Asked_Questions/). Happy hiking.

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Upcoming events (4+)

Box Hill: Stairways to Heaven - 21 miles (34 kilometres)

Dorking (Main) railway station

£15.00

Today's Love To Hike is a circular 21miles (34 kilometres) which explores the North Downs in and around Box Hill Country Park. It is ideal for anyone who loves a longer hilly challenge and is the final build-up Love To Hike for those preparing for the Love To Hike's Big Black Mountains weekend in mid-November. In total, there are 1,225m of climbing which means it will be the hilliest Love To Hike of 2021.

Lunch: Picnic.

Drivers: Car park at the station.

Toilets: There are toilets at Dorking station and the National Trust Visitor Centre at the top of Box Hill.

Price: £15.00 per person for a full day’s hike guided by Paul New.

Note: The price of the hike excludes transport, parking and lunch.

Mobile for the day:[masked].

BOX HILL

Box Hill takes its name from the ancient box woodland found on the steepest west-facing chalk slopes of the North Downs that overlook the River Mole to the north of Dorking. The western part of the hill is owned and managed by the National Trust.

ROUTE

After leaving Dorking station, we head west into Denbies' vineyard and shortly afterwards, we join the North Downs Way (NDW), a long distance path of 156 miles (251 kilometres) that starts in Farnham, Surrey and ends in Dover, Kent.

After crossing the River Mole at the Stepping Stones, we ascend our first stairway to the reach the view point at the top of Box Hill where there will be a toilet stop at the National Trust Visitor Centre.

From the view point, we head downhill before starting a diagonal climb back to the North Downs ridge where we rejoin the NDW. We remain on the NDW before heading north along the edge of Box Hill village to join the southern end of Headley Heath.

After one kilometre on the Heath, we turn west to arrive at Juniper Bottom to start our second stairway to the reach Mickleham Downs. We continue heading east along Mickleham Downs before descending through the woods to reach Cockshot Cottage. Here we immediately turn north to climb back to the top of Mickleham Downs and then east heading towards Headley.

On the outskirts of Headley, we turn south and then south west as we begin to explore Headley Heath. We continue eastwards and then south easterly until we reach Walton Oaks where we turn south and downhill to rejoin the NDW.

At Betchworth, we leave the NDW to climb Betchworth Hills which takes us back to a different part of Headley Heath. We cross Headley Heath heading north westerly to return to Cockshot Cottage where we climb back to the top of Mickleham Downs. From here, we return to Juniper Bottom where we begin our last climb to reach Flint Hill, the Box Hill view point and the toilets at the National Trust Visitor Centre.

From here, we head downhill past Box Hill Fort. Upon reaching Burford Bridge Hotel, we turn south for the final stretch back to Dorking station initially via the banks of the River Mole with the final kilometre along the road. Sunset is at 1750 and it will be dark by 1815.

LUNCH

Lunch will be a picnic at a suitable place around 1230 with a mid-afternoon snack stop.

TRAINS

Depart: Leaves London Victoria at 0755 to arrive in Dorking at 0851. You can also join this train at Clapham Junction (0802) and Epsom (0834).

Return: Return trains to London leave Dorking at 07, 32 and 36 minutes past the hour arriving back in London between 50 and 55 minutes later depending on the route.

Train fares: The off-peak return fare from London Victoria to Dorking is £10.10. With GroupSave, the price per person for a group of 3 to 9 is reduced by 34% to only £6.67. If you would like to form a group, please post a comment on this site and arrange to meet at the meeting point in front of the departure information board at London Victoria by 0740.

Note: I will greet you at Dorking station when you arrive.

DRIVERS

Dorking station is located on the southwards carriage way of the A24 just before the town of Dorking. Alternatively, you can park for free in Chichester Road which is on the opposite side of the A24 just to the north of the station. The safest way to Chichester Road is to drive past the station, go around the roundabout and come back the other side of the A24. Almost immediately after the third set of traffic lights at the cross roads, take the second left into Chichester Road. Note: the first left is Chichester Close.

WHAT TO BRING

· Face mask and hand sanitiser.

· Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that have been broken-in, ideally with ankle support. No trainers.

· Waterproof jacket: whatever the weather, we hike.

· Water: 2 litres minimum.

· Pre-packed picnic lunch and snacks: it’s a long hike.

· Day pack.

· Long trousers.

· Sunglasses if sunny.

· Hat and gloves.

· Gaiters or waterproof over trousers if rain is expected.

· Dry base layer for the journey home.

· Camera.

· Led Zeppelin IV.

PRICE

£10.00 per person payable in advance upon booking for a full day’s hike guided by Paul New.

BOOKING

To book, click on the ‘Yes’ button just below ‘Are you going?’ in the top right hand corner. You can pay from either your PayPal account or with your debit or credit card.

CANCELLATIONS

When you cancel seven or more days before a Love To Hike, you receive a £15 credit towards any future Love To Hike event.

DISCLAIMER

When participating in any outdoor activity, there is always the risk of injury and death. When hiking with Love To Hike, you acknowledge that:

1. You are fully aware of all of the risks involved and accept full responsibility for whatever may happen to you during or after the Love To Hike.

2. You are in good health, ‘fit to hike’ and capable of keeping the pace for the duration of the Love To Hike.

3. You shall wear sturdy hiking boots that have been broken-in, are in good condition (not brand new), and clothing that is appropriate for the time of year and any weather conditions that may arise during the Love To Hike.

4. You shall not hold responsible, nor pursue any legal, injury or financial compensation claim against Love To Hike and or the hike leader for anything that may happen to you during or after the Love To Hike.

Autumn Leaves: The Mens Sussex Low Weald Explorer - 17 miles (27 kilometres)

Pulborough Train Station - Southern Railway

£10.00

Today’s Love To Hike is a circular 17 miles (27 kilometres) route that starts and finishes in Pulborough. It is another NEW route which explores the Sussex Low Weald countryside to the north and west of Pulborough including The Mens (a truly magnificent large untamed 'wild' area of ancient woodland and nature reserve in the Low Weald), a section of the Wey-South Path and an abundance of typical Wealden countryside. At this time of year, the autumn colours will be in their full glory.

Lunch: Picnic.

Toilets: There are toilets at the station.

Drivers: Car park at the station.

Price: £10.00 per person for a full day’s hike guided by Paul New.

Note: the price of the hike excludes transport, parking and lunch.

Mobile for the day:[masked].

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/527954508076020/ - Please join.

ROUTE

From the station, we head west towards Pulborough Park and the village of Stopham. From Stopham, we head north heading for Fittleworth Wood and Lithergate Common.

After crossing Bognor Common, we continue heading north along the western edge of Flexham Park and onwards to Oldham Copse, Medhone Copse and Petsalls Copse.

We then turn south east heading for Croucham's Copse and Blackhouse Copse before turning south west to start our exploration of The Mens, a magnificent untamed 'wild' woodland that has a mysterious feeling to it. The trees in The Mens are many and varied and grow tall and straight. They will be in their full autumn colours glory at this time of year. We cross The Mens heading south into Hammonds Wood and onto Bedham where we take an elongated and gradual U-turn.

After leaving The Mens, we head in a general southerly direction to join Wey-South Path as we begin our return to Pulborough and the station.

LUNCH

Lunch will be a picnic at a suitable spot between[masked].

TRAINS

Depart: London Victoria at 0835 and arrives in Pulborough at 0951. You can also join this train at Clapham Junction (0841) and East Croydon (0852).

Return: Return trains to London leave Pulborough at 24 and 55 minutes past the hour and take 80 minutes.

Train fare: The off-peak return fare from London Victoria to Pulborough is £27.30. With GroupSave, the price per person for a group of 3 to 9 is reduced by 34% to only £18.20.

GroupSave: When travelling off-peak in groups of 3 or 9 people, each passenger saves 34%. If you would like to form a group, just post a comment on this site and arrange to meet safely at London Victoria station by 0820.

DRIVERS

Pulborough station is located on western edge of Pulborough just off the A283.

WHAT TO BRING

· Hand sanitiser and mask.

· Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that have been broken-in, ideally with ankle support. No trainers.

· Waterproof jacket.

· Water: 2 litres minimum.

· Pre-packed picnic lunch and snacks (it’s a long hike afterall).

· Day pack.

· Zip-off trousers.

· Sunglasses , su hat and sun screen if sunny.

· Gaiters or waterproof over trousers if rain is expected.

· Camera.

PRICE

£10.00 per person payable in advance upon booking for a full day’s hike guided by Paul New.

BOOKING

To book, click on the ‘Yes’ button just below ‘Are you going?’ in the top right hand corner. You can pay from either your PayPal account or with your debit or credit card.

CANCELLATIONS

When you cancel seven or more days before a Love To Hike, you receive a £10 credit towards any future Love To Hike event.

DISCLAIMER

When participating in any outdoor activity, there is always the risk of injury and death. When hiking with Love To Hike, you acknowledge that:

1. You are fully aware of all of the risks involved and accept full responsibility for whatever may happen to you during or after the hike.

2. You are in good health, ‘fit to hike’ and capable of keeping the pace for the duration of the hike.

3. You shall wear sturdy hiking boots that have been broken-in, are in good condition (not brand new), and clothing that is appropriate for the time of year and any weather conditions that may arise during the hike.

4. You shall not hold responsible, nor pursue any legal, injury or financial compensation claim against Love To Hike and or the hike leader for anything that may happen to you during or after the hike.

Autumn Leaves: 'Temple of the Winds' - 16 miles (26 kilometres)

Today’s Love To Hike is a circular 16 miles (26 kilometres) route that starts and finishes in Haslemere. It explores the countryside to the south of Haslemere including a section of the Sussex Border Path and the beautiful woodland and heathland of Black Down Hills. The highlight of the route is the Temple of the Winds, named after a Bronze Age circular bank. This little known spot has one of the best views of the South Downs National Park. At this time of year, the autumn colours will be at their magnificent best

Lunch: Picnic.

Toilets: There are toilets at the station.

Drivers: Haslemere station is located on the B2131 between Haslemere and Liphook.

Price: £10.00 per person for a full day’s hike guided by Paul New.

Note: the price of the hike excludes transport, parking and lunch.

Mobile for the day:[masked].

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/527954508076020/ - Please join.

ROUTE

From the station, we head south west towards Marley Common where we join the Sussex Border Path which we follow all the way to Black Down.

Black Down is a landscape of wavy hair grass, purple heather and pine trees, where you get a true sense of 'wild'. It is also the highest part of the South Downs National Park.

Once on Black Down, we make our way to the Temple of the Winds which is 270m above sea level.

The views have inspired many for generations including the famous eighteeen century Poet Laureate, Lord Alfred Tennyson: ‘You came and looked and loved the view, long known and loved by me, Green Sussex fading into blue with one grey glimpse of sea.’

From the Temple of the Winds, we turn west and begin a large clockwise loop that eventually takes us back almost to Marley Common via Shalford Copse, Cognor Wood, Golden Valley, Stanley Common and Lynchmore Common. Once close to Marley Common, we turn north as we make our way back to the station.

LUNCH

Lunch will be a picnic at a suitable spot between[masked].

TRAINS

Depart: London Waterloo at 0900 and arrives in Haslemere at 0953. You can also join this train at Woking (0924) and Guildford (0932).

Return: Return trains to London Waterloo leave Haslemere at 02, 14 and 30 minutes past the hour and take between 50-60 minutes depending on the number of stops.

Train fare: The off-peak return fare from London Waterloo to Haslemere is £24.40. With GroupSave, the price per person for a group of 3 to 9 is reduced by 34% to only £16.26.

GroupSave: When travelling off-peak in groups of 3 or 9 people, each passenger saves 34%. If you would like to form a group, just post a comment on this site and arrange to meet safely under the clock tower at London Waterloo by 0845.

DRIVERS

Haslemere station is located on the B2131 between Haslemere and Liphook.

WHAT TO BRING

· Hand sanitiser and mask.

· Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that have been broken-in, ideally with ankle support. No trainers.

· Waterproof jacket.

· Water: 2 litres minimum.

· Pre-packed picnic lunch and snacks (it’s a long hike afterall).

· Day pack.

· Zip-off trousers.

· Sunglasses and sunscreen if sunny.

· Gaiters or waterproof over trousers if rain is expected.

· Camera.

PRICE

£10.00 per person payable in advance upon booking for a full day’s hike guided by Paul New.

BOOKING

To book, click on the ‘Yes’ button just below ‘Are you going?’ in the top right hand corner. You can pay from either your PayPal account or with your debit or credit card.

CANCELLATIONS

When you cancel seven or more days before a Love To Hike, you receive a £10 credit towards any future Love To Hike event.

DISCLAIMER

When participating in any outdoor activity, there is always the risk of injury and death. When hiking with Love To Hike, you acknowledge that:

1. You are fully aware of all of the risks involved and accept full responsibility for whatever may happen to you during or after the hike.

2. You are in good health, ‘fit to hike’ and capable of keeping the pace for the duration of the hike.

3. You shall wear sturdy hiking boots that have been broken-in, are in good condition (not brand new), and clothing that is appropriate for the time of year and any weather conditions that may arise during the hike.

4. You shall not hold responsible, nor pursue any legal, injury or financial compensation claim against Love To Hike and or the hike leader for anything that may happen to you during or after the hike.

Big Black Mountains Weekend

Surbiton Station

The Black Mountains are located in the north eastern corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park just across the border in Wales. The scenery is breath taking. This will be Love To Hike's fifth Big Black Mountains Challenge (BBMC) weekend. This year's event was originally scheduled for May but due to the pandemic was put back to November.

However, the organisers of the BBMC, Longtown Mountains Rescue Team (LMRT), advised in June that it was unable to get the required permissions to host the event - parking (in a muddy field in mid-November) was the obstacle.

Consequently, the Challenge will now be a Love To Hike only event - although the LMRT has been invited to join us on the Challenge and I expect some of its members will.

Start and finish: Zone 1-6 station as nominated by your driver.

Start: 14:00 prompt.

Estimated finish: 19:00 but depends on the traffic.

Toilets: There are toilets at numerous motorway service stations en route.

Mobile for the weekend:[masked].

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/527954508076020/ - please join and like.

BIG BLACK MOUNTAINS CHALLENGE

This year's November edition of the Big Black Mountains Challenge will be a scaled down event consisting of a testing hike of 30 kilometres (18½ miles). Due to the limited daylight in November, there will be not be a 50 kilometres A route option.

The Challenge is on Saturday November 13th. It starts and finishes at Llanthony Priory, a partly ruined former Augustinian priory located in the Honddu Valley in the Vale of Ewyas.

ROUTES

The 30 kilometres route is a new route that was originally planned by LMRT for the 2020 BBMC which was cancelled due to the pandemic. It has 1,231m of vertical ascent. There are three main climbs and three main descents with a high point of 679m. The route includes a stretch of Offa's Dyke along the border between Wales and England.

PLAN

The plan is to travel by car to the Black Mountains on the afternoon of Friday November 12th departing from a zone 1-6 station in London as nominated by your driver at 1400. The drive is estimated to take around four hours. Alternatively, you can travel to Abergavenny by train in which case you will receive a £40 discount off the price of the weekend.

On the Friday evening, there will be a briefing meeting at 1930 followed by dinner.

On the Saturday morning, we will need to leave our B&B in Abergavenny by 0645 to drive to the start at Llanthony Priory.

On Sunday, there will be the option to do a mid-morning ‘loosen the legs’ Love To Hike of 7 miles (12 kilometres) which will include the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain (596m).

ACCOMMODATION

Once again, we will be staying at The King's Head Hotel in the historic market town of Abergavenny.

Abergavenny is on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is surrounded by mountains. The ruins of Abergavenny Castle and the River Usk are less than 500 metres from the hotel.

The King’s Head Hotel is a four star hotel and former coaching inn located in the centre of Abergavenny.

All rooms will be on a sole occupancy basis and are ensuites with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen Freeview TV with radio, tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary toiletries.

Dinner on the Friday evening for everyone will be at The King's Head's in-house Regency 59 restaurant. The restaurant serves delicious Indian food as well as a number of Welsh Classics. It can also cater for vegetarians and vegans. Before dinner at 1930 prompt, there will be a briefing meeting which you must attend.

Breakfast will be at 0600 prompt on Saturday and consist of a full Welsh (English) including bacon, sausages, baked beans, eggs, hash brown, and tomato as well as a continental option. The B&B will also provide us with a substantial 'fit for hikers' packed lunch before we leave.

On Sunday, we can buy our picnic lunches from Morrsions which opens at 1000.

WHAT TO BRING
· Face mask & hand sanitiser

· Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that have been broken-in, ideally with ankle support. No new boots and no trainers.

· Waterproof jacket: whatever the weather, we hike

· Water: 3 litres minimum and preferably 4 litres

· Day pack

· Sunglasses and sun protection

· Warm hat and gloves

· Gaiters or waterproof over trousers if rain is expected

· Torch

· Whistle

· A light polythene survival bag is essential if the weather suddenly turns adverse

· Camera

· Money for Sunday packed lunch, evening dinners, snacks and drinks

· Hiking poles

PRICE

The price for the weekend varies by room and includes:

• Transport by car to and from the Black Mountains from a zone 1-6 station on Friday November 12th returning on Sunday November 14th

• Two nights ensuite bed and breakfast accommodation

• Substantial 'fit for hikers' packed lunch on Saturday November 13th

• Transport to and from the start of i) the Big Black Mountains Challenge and ii) the Sugar loaf Mountain Love To Hike both of which are about a 30 minutes' drive from Abergavenny

The remaining availablity is:

• Double ensuite room: £360 (sole occupancy) or £285 per person (if sharing) - only two rooms left

• Twin ensuite room: £285 per person - one spot for a male only

Excluded from the price are:

• Picnic lunch (Sunday), dinners, drinks and snacks

• Travel to and from a zone 1-6 station to meet your driver (one passenger per car)

• Any other expenditure not included within the price above

DRIVERS

If you are a driver and willing to take up one passenger from a London station of your choice in zones 1 to 6 to and from Abergavenny, you will receive a £40 discount and a further £40 discount for any passenger you chauffeur. Thus for a driver with a passenger, your price for the weekend is reduced by £80. If you are willing to be a driver, please email [masked]. This offer is available on a first come basis.

In Abergavenny, you can park for free on the street outside The King's Head Hotel between[masked]. Alternatively, there is a pay and display car park just around the corner.

TRAINS

If you prefer, you can travel to Abergavenny by train. Trains leave London Paddington at least once an hour. The journey takes around two and a half hours depending on the number of stops. You will need to change at Newport. If you decide to travel by train, you will receive a £40 discount.

On Sunday, there is a train from Abergavenny to London around once an hour.

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT

If you RSVP and pay the £100 deposit on or before 31st March 2021, there is a £20 early bird discount which means I will pay your entry fee for the Big Black Mountains Challenge.

BOOKING

After RSVPing, there is a £100 non-refundable deposit to confirm your spot with the balance payable at the start of October.

To RSVP, click on the ‘Yes’ button just below ‘Are you going?’ in the top right hand corner. I will then contact you for the information required for your entry along with the details for the deposit.

DISCLAIMER

When participating in any outdoor activity, there is always the risk of injury and death. When hiking with members of Love To Hike, you acknowledge that:

· You are fully aware of all of the risks involved and accept full responsibility for whatever may happen to you during or after any hike.

· You are in good health, ‘fit to hike’ and capable of keeping the pace for the duration of the hikes.

· You shall wear sturdy hiking boots that have been broken-in, are in good condition (not brand new), and clothing that is appropriate for the time of year and any weather conditions that may arise during the hikes.

· You shall not hold responsible, nor pursue any legal, injury or financial compensation claim against Love To Hike and or the hike leader for anything that may happen to you during or after any of the hikes.

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