Surrey walk around Leigh
PUBLISHED: 13:31 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:21 03 July 2018
Discover the beautiful countryside around Leigh on this gentle stroll that is perfect for a summer’s day
• Start: The Plough in Church Road, Leigh, near Reigate RN2 8NJ
• Map: Explorer 146
• Grid reference: TQ 224 469
• Length of walk: Four-and-a-half miles through the countryside
• Food/drink: Leigh is home to two popular pubs, The Plough and The Seven Stars. There are also a number of other excellent pubs in the surrounding countryside, such as the CAMRA award-winning Surrey Oaks near Newdigate.
• While you’re there: The ancient oak beside the lychgate of St Bartholomew’s is said to be 500 years old. The attractive church itself is 15th century and built of Reigate stone – though a stone belltower and wooden belfry were replaced by the present tower and bellcote in 1980.
1 From The Plough public house, cross to St Bartholomew’s Church (which dates back to the 15th century) and head on through the graveyard to the covered pathway. Here you’ll find the first of 14 stiles on this route. Cross over the stile and into the field, going ahead but following the hedge on your left around the edge of the field. Eventually, you’ll reach another tall stile over a small river.
2 Once into the next field, go sharp to the right and then follow the hedge on your right until you reach the corner of the field. Go through the gap in the hedge on your right and then left to another gate. Go through this and onwards to another stile in the field ahead (note: there is often livestock in this field; sheep or cows).
3 Continue ahead and across the field, going to your left up a slope to a stile in the corner, with Bell Copse on your left and Swains Farm over on your right. A triangulation point marker will be over in the field on your right.
4 Go ahead with a hedge on your left and the triangulation point on your right to a gap and stile in the hedge on your left. Cross over and go ahead towards Dene Farm. As you approach, go right along the hedge following the driveway on your left. Then head over the first stile and then further stiles on your left to cross over the farm driveway into a field.
5 Bear right, keeping to the pathway and cross a couple more stiles (note: there are many ground nesting birds in these fields, as well as meadow flowers, so be sure to stick to the path).
6 Emerging into Dene Oak Lane, go left along the lane past some nice cottages. As the lane bends around to the right, find a driveway marked Stumblehole – this is a bridleway, so go left up the driveway.
7 Continue ahead on this track for a while past the big Stumblehole house on your right. Head onwards, ignoring side tracks as it becomes wooded for a while. Continue ahead, past the old lime kiln on your right – behind a big hedge – and on past Butlers Shaw. You’ll soon have good views of Moon Hall College, as you head across the green lawn frontage.
8 At the crossroads, go right and then, when you reach the main road (Flanchford Road), go left, staying on the grass verge for a short distance. When you are opposite Flanchford Cottages, go left again onto a signposted footpath (Denshot Farm will be on your right). Stay on this path as it bends right and then cross a small bridge over a stream. Go immediately right again over another small bridge.
9 Keep to the right-hand edge of the three fields until, with Leigh Place in front, you enter a field with a path heading half left across the middle. This takes you back to the church. At the gate, go through and left along Church Lane, past Willow Cottage, and back to the start at The Plough pub.
• Built in the 14th to 15th century, The Plough is a cosy, low-beamed countryside pub found on Leigh village green. Sarah Bloomfield has run the pub for nearly two decades – and some of the original members of staff are still working there.
• Regular displays of village history can be found in the History Box, a converted phone box on the village green. The project, run by Leigh History Group, charts the story of the village from the 11th century to the present day.
• Moon Hall School was started in Ewhurst, in 1985, when a teacher discovered her eight-year-old son was dyslexic but couldn’t find a school in the area with the ability to help. Today, in Leigh, you’ll find Moon Hall College and Burys Court. The latter was completed in 1876 as a home for Edward and Georgiana Charrington (of the famous East End brewing family).