Make the most of the unusually perfect walking weather with another of WALKER DUNELM’s recommended hikes, and maybe take the opportunity to load up for the barbecue, too
This walk begins at the small parking area by the entrance to Shabden Park Farm (grid ref TQ276563).
If the parking area is full, as it often is at busy weekends when customers visit the farm shop that sells excellent quality organic meat and produce (check the opening hours), you may need to make use of the few small roadside lay-bys between the parking area and the White Hart pub. There is also a car park adjacent to Chipstead village hall.
Walk down the farm lane and, after passing the farm, go through a gate and downhill on a rough, stony track through woods. When the track ends, ignore a footpath off to the right, and go through a wicket gate into a huge, grassy field with a beautiful view over a valley to woodland on the far side.
Turn left where there is a footpath sign with a waymark for the Shabden and Upper Gatton Circular walk.
After 350yds there is a corner with a wicket gate on the left. Turn right, downhill on a permissive path.
Where the fence on the left ends go straight on uphill following a clear path and pass through a kissing gate into woods. Maintain the same direction ignoring a side path. At a post with several waymarks, go over a crossing track. The path bends to the right and slightly uphill to a stile.
The route now follows a hedge on the left with a golf course on the right. At a concrete road where there is a three way signpost, turn left along a tarmac drive between houses, pass to the right of a pond and bend to the right into a narrow lane between hedges for 350yds to reach a road (Outwood Lane).
Turn left for 60yds and turn left again on a footpath by Warren Cottage. After going through a copse the path emerges at a golf course. The route is now straight ahead and crosses several fairways. There are marker posts before each fairway advising “Look right” or “Look left”. Knowing how wayward some of the club golfers can be off the tees, it is essential to follow the instruction and, if golfers are about to drive, wait until it is safe to cross.
At the end of the golf course, go through a copse, over a stile, down the left-hand side of a sloping field and over a stile into a lane with The Well House Inn opposite. This is at approximately the halfway point, where you can sit in the garden and sup a pint or two of real ale.
The walk continues on an uphill path to the right of the pub, through a kissing gate and on an enclosed field edge path which eventually leads out to a lane.
Turn left on the lane which bends right and then left to a junction with Green Lane (post box on the left). Go downhill on the lane ahead and, at the bottom of the hill, turn left on a signposted footpath through a kissing gate.
Make for the top left-hand corner where a kissing gate leads into a wood then the path briefly follows a field edge with a barbed wire fence on the left before turning right downhill. A stile leads into an enclosed path by a house (Kingswood Kennels) and out into a lane.
Turn left for 60yds and, at a footpath sign on the right, climb up a bank, cross a stile into a field, climb steeply up to a wooden railed fence, turn left and follow the fence clockwise to reach two stiles leading into a narrow enclosed path between houses. Turn left along a lane for 200yds and, at a junction, turn right.
After 200yds turn left over a stile and follow a clear, grassy path half right uphill to a stile leading to a bendy woodland path. At a wide track, turn left. Ignore a permissive horse ride, bend right and then left.
At a crossing track turn right on the Shabden and Upper Gatton Circular Walk and retrace the outward route to Shabden Park Farm and the car park.
Distance: 4¾ miles Time: 2¼ hours (excluding beer stops) Grade: Easy
Terrain: Farmland, woods, two golf courses and a number of fairly easy ascents
Nearest town: Coulsdon
Refreshments: The Well House Inn, Mugswell. The White Hart, Chipstead (both offer real ale)
Public toilets: None
Maps: Explorer 46