The Hidden Hogsmill

Distance18K  OS Explorer161+146

Start at Epsom's 19th Century clock tower. I got the bus down from Kinston. Long pre-walk by roads - sorry. Head out of Epsom along the Dorking Road. After Hospital, houses either side end and woods appear. Resist temptation to enter woods (rather than walk beside road) until past road turning right.

Woods quite wild, no footpaths just tracks, test your track spotting technique! Ferns waist high. If lost, head north until railway line then follow it left. With luck you stumble onto the Thames Down Link - which takes us all way to Kingston. After Railway crossing (remember to shut gate) is Epsom Common.

The Common is quite open with some nice wooded areas coming up, but starts off on wide, laid down walking/cycling track. Follow until turning to right, opposite large display board with map (These display board maps always serve to confuse me!). Continue still on man made, but smaller, track.

Keep an eye on hidden Downs Link's signage as have to come off track onto grass. Have missed this split before (If you come across housing then you know you missed the turning). After a bit of mud and some nice wooded areas you leave common across lightly traffic Christ Church Road.

Cross road onto open track with fence and horse fields on right. At end, small road leads to large roundabout. You have to cross two roundabout turn-offs to get to pavement on opposite side along Horton Lane. You should then pass The Old Moat Garden Centre before crossing back across busy road.

Leaving road behind enter family freindly nature park, with large open air picnic area if need to sit down for packed lunch. Then through equestrian centre with horse fields to left and this walks only 'view' westward across Chessington. Haven't yet worked out what the strange tall conical building is.

Next section has some slightly tricky navigation as footpaths and nature tracks cross over each other. Hopefully you join up with, and then follow, the Bonesgate Stream. This feeds into the Hogsmill River, also, you can't help not to notice our friend (if you can forgive the sight & sound) the Electric Pylon.

Whatever you think of them, Electric Pylons help keep large areas of the country 'open'. We haven't yet forced people to live directly under them, so will always be walking space. This section shows friction between land and vast populous. When does countryside become wasteland?

After crossing bridge you are now following The Hogsmill River which flows into the Thames at Kingston. Along the way there are a few display boards which provide information on its history (i.e. how we have used it) and all the wildlife it supports and you can see (if your lucks holding up).

No sooner than meeting the Hogsmill you need to cross A240, over traffic lights. Straight after, duck back along Hogsmill for short, disagreeable section with added bliss of go-karting track on left behind fence. Then another longer detour on roads until rejoining river after church over large clackety bridge.

Cross back over river just past playground & railway bridge. Nicer short section here across Long Meadows alongside river until have to take detour to subway under A3. This brings you into Elmbridge Meadows. Can get bit muddy in autumn & winter but drys out in summer. Quite, with the odd dog walker.

That was the last bit of 'open' walking as you leave River and take roads & pavements through suburbia to Berrylands Station then track / cycle way past water works then final road section to meet-up again with Hogsmill. Quite well signposted - look out for markers and 2 main pubs at turning points.

Final bit starts just past school with blue fences (after road bridges river) and via urban backyards & community gardens brings you into Kingston. Signposts are not to be trusted here - but after a few goes you get to know the way - try and keep river / stream on your right. Some bits quite restrictive.

I ended walk at main road, but you can continue through the Guildhall complex, over Clattern Bridge (claims to be Surreys oldest - look for the big fish on the Police Station side) and see the Hogsmills River into the Thames with the swans and amongst riverside eating and drinking complexes.

Its Green to Blue (North Downs to River Thames)
After a rainy night, expect wet trousers.
You can always walk on the grass!
Come off man-made track onto grass to the left.
Perfect footing for horses.
The horses aren't too impressed with that view.
Everyone seems to be uprooting these days.
Oh no, we gonna rock down to...
I think this is taken from the bridge - can't remember!
Road diversion ends at nice Church.
Right at start of Meadows are ancient remains of some sort???
Last views of a 'free' Hogsmill.
Rivers muster more power when restricted.
Clattern Bridge - which is modern, which medieval?