Walk 1618 - printer friendly version
The Box Hill Hike Walk
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 8.0 miles / 13 km
Ascent - 1000 feet / 303 metres
Grade - mod/hard
Start - OS grid reference TQ178513
Lat 51.248715 + Long -0.31355069
Postcode KT20 7LB (approx. location only)
With an estimated 850,000 visitors each year, Box Hill in Surrey scarcely needs any introduction. This walk is a waymarked circular route known as the Box Hill Hike. Although it is only a moderate eight miles in length, various sections of the route involve walking up and down hills and some of the slopes are steep. Walking poles may be advisable, therefore, and it is a good idea, in any case, to take the downhill descents in particular with care to avoid slipping. As a change from the ups and downs, at one point the route follows along a grassy common on a ridge, a section that extends for a few hundred yards, the Mickleham Downs. The route passes a couple of pubs, one of which is at the village of Mickleham where there is also a grocery store and there is a café at the top of Box Hill. Generally, this is an enjoyable country ramble where stretches of woodland are mixed with more open countryside with landscape views. There is one particularly demanding uphill ascent from near to the Whitehill car park with wooden retainer steps. There are a few muddy sections, though more notably, sections of chalk path underfoot are liable to be slippery.
At Box Hill, Salomon's Memorial offers a fine viewpoint to the south. It has a toposcope which shows details as to how many miles it is to particular towns or other points of interest such as Leith Hill, Surrey's highest point, to the south-west. The South Downs can be seen in the far distance and this is a view worth taking in before the walk proper begins. There are a number of paths and tracks which offer alternative ways to go, but to be sure of following this particular route, follow the waymarked signs for the Box Hill Hike. From the car park next to the café, cross the road and locate a path that leads off to the left down through woods towards Lodge Hill. One of the better views of the walk appears on the left, looking across to another spur leading up Box Hill backed by Ranmore Common. Broadwood's Folly is reached next, a cylindrical shaped tower with a tree growing out of the top. Branch left at the next fork and after a steep path down through trees to Juniper Bottom, Whitewell car park is soon reached. Cross Headley Road and next begins the hardest climb of the walk as a series of wooden retainer steps lead the way up, before the gradient eases off. The path soon descends again and leads to the village of Mickleham where the route passes a church, and the village may be considered a suitable place for a rest stop.
The Box Hill Hike route continues from the churchyard, and follows a narrow path alongside a fence that borders some back gardens, before it branches right up a road and past another pub before heading quite steeply uphill through woods along a path similar to a dried-up water channel. This path leads to Mickleham Downs which provides easy walking for a few hundred yards along a grassy stretch between sections of trees. At the far end, a waymarked sign indicates a path through woods to the right. After the change of scenery along the grassy downs, the route soon resumes its more typical features with another steep descent through woodland, a similar stretch in reverse to the main uphill climb earlier in the walk from Headley Road. At the bottom of the slope, Lodgebottom Road is reached. Cross the road and continue ahead as another ascent through woodland leads to an Outdoor Education Centre. Turn left here, then left again downhill through more woods as a hill appears on the right with a solitary tree. The route turns up this hill to the right and the all round view opens out with hills, woods and footpaths in different directions. This is one of the better views of the whole walk. Turn right at the next fork along a muddy path due south east and this path leads to a road. Cross the road and continue along the path on the other side of the road. This path leads to another path to the right which leads back to the walk's start point.