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Words and Photography by

Harry Hawkins

Hamsey Green to Banstead Station

Happy Valley

February 2008

The London Loop Leg 14

Hamsey Green to Banstead Station

Sunday, 23rd February, 2008

The London Loop is a 140 mile walk around London and roughly just inside the M25 (although you do not see it) passing through as many green places as possible such as parks, woods, commons, riverside protected areas and open farmland.

The West Essex Ramblers covered this in about 10 mile stretches over the period 2006 to 2008.

We followed the path using "The London Loop" by David Sharp, ISBN1854107593, £13 rrp.

Click photos below for larger image

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Some commentary on the photos,

which is also a reflection on the walk

[Road information is just to help identify where we were].

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The 403 bus took us to Hamsey Green via the Good Companion Pub (Image 1). We walked along Tithepit Shaw Lane, straight across to open ground then alongside Dipsley's Shaw (Image 2). We continued straight ahead passing a redundant triangulation point (Image 3). Turning left, we went downhill along a hedged area, which I believe is Riddlesdown (Image 4).

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We paused at the next left  (image 1), continued downhill (Image 3) until we dropped down to a gate (Image 3) then onto Riddlesdown Road, which is not much more than a track. We continued, over a railway, then walked close to it (Image 3).

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We continued down a track (Image 1) to the A23, crossed it then walked up this road (Image 2). Looking back (Image 3) we could see a quarry and the black silhouette of a railway on the horizon. Next came these steep steps (Image 4).

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We reached Kenley Common and were greeted by this information board.

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We had turned left, leaving the Loop (Image 1) when we saw this glider at Kenley Aerodrome (Image 2). Kenley Airfield was a Battle of Britain Fighter Station in WW II.

We rejoined the Loop, went down Golf Road, a cul de sac, then turned right into Hayes Lane. We then headed left, along a path through trees and across open ground. Image 3 was the view just before we crossed Old Lodge Lane.  Kenley Observatory operated by Croydon Astronomical Society (Image 4).

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We walked through these woods (Images 1 and 2) and the outskirts of Old Coulsdon via Waterhouse Lane and Rydons Lane.

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We arrived at Coulsdon Common and its information board.

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We reached a wide verge by Stites Hill Road (Image 1) crossed the road, went though a wood, crossed Coulsdon Road and were soon at the Fox Pub (Image 2) where we had lunch. We set off south west (Image 3) then turned north west towards Happy Valley (Image 4).

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This is Happy Valley. We turned left here towards Farthing Downs.

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Another information board - Farthing Downs and New Hill.

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Farthing Downs is a high ridge (Images 1 and 2 ). Ditches Lane, which passes over it, has two sets of 'City of London' cattle grids. London's skyline was clearly visible from here. The downs finish at Coulsdon (Image 3) by the northern cattle grid (Image 4).

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We walked via Couldsdon South Station. The area was not too built-up until we reached a busy roundabout. On our left was this, very rural, Free Range Farm (Image 1), on our right (Image 2) - the roundabout.

We walked through and beside an estate until we slipped onto this path (Image 3) which led past horses in a field (Image 4).

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London in the distance.

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A young rider kindly posed for a photograph.

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Here, a poster for Mayfield Lavender Nursery, advertises their lavender oil. It also points out that, in the past, this region had a worldwide reputation for lavender products .

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A view of Mayfield's lavender field, which blooms from June onwards.

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We left the lavender, crossed the road then entered Oaks Park. Toilets, refreshments and a small garden can be found here (Image 1). We walked through the grounds then along several paths, which led past a field of horned sheep (Image 2), HM Prison, High Down (Image 3) and another field of horses (Image 4).

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A tree lined track (Images 1 and 2) and a wood containing snowdrops (Image 3). The same, zoomed in, in Image 4.

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We reached Banstead Downs then crossed a railway.

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Our final route crossed a golf course (Images 1 and 2) then led us to Banstead Station and home.