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Exploring the North Downs

Walks on the North Downs with views to die for!

  • England

  • 4 nights
  • Full Board
  • Field Studies Council

  • Sep

    Oct

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 71334

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.

Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.

Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Box Hill – enjoy the views along the North Downs
  • Leith Hill with its Tower, with views from London to the sea
  • The River Mole Stepping Stones

The word ‘bucolic’ could have been coined to describe the North Downs. Pretty villages sit under rolling hills. The tops offer panoramic views across the hills, the Weald to the south and even Windsor Castle to the north west. The best known of these viewpoints is undoubtedly Box Hill, named after the box trees that grow here. From Leith Hill Tower, atop the highest point in the South East, you can see the sea at Shoreham and Big Ben in London.

The chalk soil around here supports a variety of orchids and it is thought the local downland supports 38 species of butterfly. That is more than half of the species in the UK. 

Our walks will take us to high downs and along river valleys. On two days we walk directly from Juniper Hall, whose location invites local walking; two highlights are Box Hill and the steppingstones over the River Mole. On the other day we intend to take in the village of Coldharbour and Leith Hill. The walks are up and down as we are in the hills but gradients and speed of walking are gentle.

We stay at FSC Juniper Hall. The name comes from the Juniper trees that grow here amongst the Box wood.

  • Full board en suite accommodation (hostel)
  • Private coach transport to and from the trailheads, when necessary
  • Services of a dedicated tour leader
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

Independent travel to the FSC Juniper Hall. Check in is from 2.00pm. Meet your tour leader at approximately 6:30pm in the centre for a briefing before dinner. Dinner each evening is taken on site.

Day 2

Box Hill and the Stepping Stones

Meals

Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Distance

    8.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    415m

A classic walk to start our holiday. We walk out from Juniper Hall and climb slowly and steadily up Box Hill for great views. There is plenty of local interest to enjoy along the way. We then descend to the south to cross the Pilgrims' Way and reach the banks of the River Mole and turn north to reach the Stepping Stones. If it is not possible to cross the river here, there is a footbridge 100 yards along the river. From here it is a short walk back to Juniper Hall.

Day 3

Polesden Lacey

Meals

Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Distance

    10 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    367m

Today we head west. Again we walk from Juniper Hall and through Denbies Vineyard before climbing up to Ranmore Common for some fine views to the south. Next we head north to loop around the NT Polesden Lacey estate and continue east to cross the River Mole at Mickleham village, a short distance away from Juniper Hall.

Day 4

Leith Hill

Meals

Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Distance

    8 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    313/343m

To start the day we will use transport to take us south to South Holmwood village. From here we head south and west, and via Coldharbour village climb up to Leith Hill. On a clear day the views north and south from the top of Leith Tower are magnificent. We continue via the attractive Friday Street with its pond to Westcott village to meet our transport taking us back to Juniper Hall.

Day 5

Departure day

Meals

Breakfast

Departure from the centre after breakfast. Check out is by 9.30am. We hope that you have enjoyed your holiday and look forward to welcoming you on another soon.  

Departure dates for your selected tour

6th Sep 2021 - 10th Sep 2021 (4 Nights)

25th Oct 2021 - 29th Oct 2021 (4 Nights)

Travel Details

Private coach transport to and from the trailheads, when necessary, is included. Most walks do not require transport as we are able to start and finish these walks directly from and to the FSC centre. 

To reach Juniper Hall ...

By Car

From the north: 

From junction 9 of the M25 take the A24 towards Dorking. After the Givons Grove roundabout turn left to continue on the A24 south towards Dorking for approximately 1 mile and then take the B2209 left into the village of Mickleham. Go through the village past the Church and the Running Horses pub and continue for about ½ mile. The entrance to Juniper Hall is on the left hand side immediately after Headley Lane. Please note that there is no entrance to the centre from Headley Lane.

From the south: 

Join the A24 and head north towards Leatherhead. Go straight over Denbies Vineyard roundabout and at the next roundabout (Burford Bridge). Turn right towards Box Hill and Mickleham. Continue past the Burford Bridge Hotel and the turning for Box Hill and up a small hill. As you go over the top of the hill the centre is at the bottom of the hill on the right hand side.

An alternative satnav postcode is RH5 6BZ. 

By Train

Dorking Station (1.6 miles) – regular trains from London ( Victoria and Waterloo) and Horsham. Taxis are readily available outside the main station.

Dorking Deepdene (1.6 miles) – trains from Reading, Guildford, Gatwick, Redhill and Reigate stop at Dorking Deepdene station.

Box Hill and Westhumble Station (1 mile).

By Bus

The 465 service runs between Dorking (opposite the main train station) to Kingston upon Thames and stops just outside the centre.

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

FSC Juniper Hall

Located next to Box Hill in Surrey, FSC Juniper Hall has beautiful scenery and countryside surroundings.

The property offers simple accommodation for those who want a convenient base for good walking. However the accommodation benefits from a £1.5m refurbishment finished in the summer of 2020 when bathroom facilities were renewed. The centre offers a range of room types with layouts ranging from single and twin bedded rooms up to dormitories with bunk beds. We are offering both en suite accommodation and also rooms with shared bathroom facilities for this holiday on a single occupancy or twin occupancy basis and the style of room you receive will be split amongst the rooms types noted above. Rooms with shared facilities have sinks and access to a toilet and shower close by. If you book a single occupancy room, you will have ample space and often various beds in the room as usually the room would be multi occupied.

Due to the ongoing Covid regulations, we are unable to offer rooms with shared bathrooms on our February 2021 departure

Rooms are very simple in style, with limited facilities (no TV, no hairdryers, no telephone) with bed linen and towels provided. The centre doesn't have a bar so you are welcome to bring your own drinks and alcohol. Tea & coffee making facilities can be found in the communal areas of the centre. There is a dining room offering breakfast and evening meals and spacious common areas. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi on site.  

There is car parking on site and check in is from 2pm on the day of arrival, with departure after breakfast on the last day by 9.30am.

*Please note that this accommodation type is different from the majority of hotels we choose for our UK holidays. The accommodation is more hostel than hotel and as described above is simple which is reflected in the holiday price*

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This Grade 4 moderate holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and is likely to include an element of sightseeing as well. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.

Walks & Excursions

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Your Travel Details

To reach the Centre...

By Car

From the north: 

From the junction 9 of the M25 take the A24 towards Dorking.  After the Givons Grove roundabout turn left to continue on the A24 south towards Dorking for approximately 1 mile and then take the B2209 left into the village of Mickleham. Go through the village past the Church and the Running Horses pub and continue for about ½ mile. The entrance to Juniper Hall is on the left hand side immediately after Headley Lane. Please note that there is no entrance to the centre from Headley Lane.

From the south: 

Join the A24 and head north towards Leatherhead. Go straight over Denbighs Vineyard roundabout and at the next roundabout (Burford Bridge). Turn right towards Box Hill and Mickleham. Continue past the Burford Bridge Hotel and the turning for Box Hill and up a small hill. As you go over the top of the hill the centre is at the bottom of the hill on the right hand side.

An alternative satnav postcode is RG5 6BZ. 

By Train

Dorking Station (1.6 miles) – regular trains from London ( Victoria and Waterloo) and Horsham. Taxis are readily available outside the main station.

Dorking Deepdene (1.6 miles) – trains from Reading, Guildford, Gatwick, Redhill and Reigate stop at Dorking Deepdene station.

Box Hill and Westhumble (1 mile).

Bus: The 465 service runs between Dorking (opposite the main train station) to Kingston upon Thames and stops just outside the centre.

You may also wish to look at the following website for advice on the best way to travel to the accommodation: www.rome2rio.com  

The AA and RAC both offer free and detailed on-line route planning facilities on their websites which may help you find the hotel. Details can be found at: www.theaa.co.uk and www.rac.co.uk 

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for United Kingdom

Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.

Meals

This holiday is on full board basis starting with dinner on your arrival day and finishing with breakfast on your departure day. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken at the centre and lunch will consist of a packed lunch provided by the centre. 

Packed lunches will be arranged by the leader each day. They generally consist of a sandwich, fruit, water and a slice of cake. As kettles are available in the communal areas, you may wish to bring a flask to make up a coffee/tea flask to accompany your picnic lunch. 

Dinner will consist of a two course (main course and dessert) set menu with a choice of a meat dish and vegetarian option. There is no bar at the centre so you may want to bring your own drinks. 

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

Our intended route is covered by the following map:

Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure series (1:25,000):
OS Explorer 146 Dorking, Box Hill & Reigate

The Map Shop

Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.

Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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