With most of us currently sat at home and only leaving the house to walk the dog or try to pick up essentials, I thought it would be useful to add to my recommended walking spots!
As you may know, I practice social distancing on my walks as a matter of course, it's by far my favourite way to walk with dogs! What this means is that I have a lovely list of rural walking places that will breathe some joy into your lives, where you can usually walk without meeting many, if any, people at all.
The National Trust are suspending parking fees at the moment to help people get outdoors, aid their mental health at a difficult time, and to do all this whilst putting social distancing measures into place. Sheepleas is not a National Trust site but has free parking as standard. Please be mindful of the fact that there are gates at intervals throughout all of these walks so do take hand gel if you have any or a flask of warm water and soap as there is nowhere to wash your hands.
1. Leith Hill
There are a few walks to choose from here and you can find them all in this handy guide. There is a map in the car park and the walks are easily signposted, even for me! We take the woodland trail which is approximately a 2.5 miles route which takes us around 90 minutes. It's a circular route, you start off walking through Rhododendron Woods and towards the end of the walk end up at Leith Hill Tower which has just astounding views. This is the highest point in South East England and there is a telescope next to the tower for some sight spotting! There are 74 steps up to the tower and the route back down to the car park is a little steep and uneven steps that lead you to a road so be prepared to put your pup on lead at this point! There is one other point in the route where you walk up a short lane so again just keep your eyes peeled and pop your pup on the lead, you see this one before you reach it.
Once back at the car park there is a picnic area adjacent if you fancy making a morning or afternoon of it!
Park at Rhododendron Wood Car Park, RH5 6LU
2. Denbies Hillside
You exit the car park at Denbies Hillside through a kissing gate and onto a south-facing slope with, you guessed it, beautiful views! This walk has both grassland and woodland to enjoy and is not too taxing either! Despite the hillside and steep slope down, you can walk along the top for the most part, enjoying the views without the exertion! We met only a group of ramblers on our walk here, it was really enjoyable to be totally immersed in the landscape. The woodlands were brilliant, so much for the dogs to explore and tons of piles of logs and fallen trees for them to climb and sniff about on! In the spring the grasslands promise an array of wildflowers that make the place so unique. For more information on the wildlife and fauna, you can find here have a look at the National Trust site.
Parking at Ranmore Common Rd, Dorking RH5 6SR
3. Polesdon Lacey
Polesdon Lacey is a National Trust House and Gardens but take a stroll back down the path past the entrance and you will find yourself entering open fields for a really lovely walk. There are four way-marked walks across the estate, from 1.5 miles to 4 miles depending on just how much exercise you want! There are cattle and sheep in the area but all fields are marked at the entrances as to whether there is livestock ahead or not so you have advance warning to put your pup on the lead!
Parking at Polesdon Lacey Estate, Great Bookham, Surrey, RH5 6BD
Parking is usually chargeable unless you are a National Trust Member. At the moment they are not charging but please check for signs when you visit.
Sheepleas has both ancient woodland and chalk grassland. We've not yet been privy to the array of wildflowers but they should be sprouting very soon so I'm expecting this place to get even more beautiful than it already is. We didn't see a soul when we walked here.
We parked at the Green Dene Car Park but there are 3 to choose from;
Car parks off A246 (by St Mary’s Church: KT24 6AP) Shere Road (KT24 6EP) & Green Dene (KT24 5TA)
5. Box Hill
I'm including Box Hill on this list as it's a beautiful place to walk and the closest of all on this list. However, it is often busier than anywhere else we visit and most people follow the same trails. It's still possible to keep your distance but it's certainly not as quiet and removed from civilisation as anywhere else we go. That said, it's about a half an hour drive and miles quieter than our local commons and parks. Take the stairs down to the Stepping Stones if you're feeling brave and you'll meet fewer people.... because it's STEEP!!!
Parking at Box Hill, Tadworth KT20 7LF
Happy exploring with your pooches. For more recommendations do check out Poochville Recommends - Newlands Corner is a particularly beautiful place to walk!