A walk around Happy Valley and Farthing Downs

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:01 01 October 2020

Farthing Downs start point on top of Downsr. Image: Chris Howard

Farthing Downs start point on top of Downsr. Image: Chris Howard


Enjoy a section of the trail around this nationally important nature reserve on the Surrey/London border

Farthing Downs public footpath sign. Image: Chris HowardFarthing Downs public footpath sign. Image: Chris Howard


Start: Ditches Lane car park, Farthing Downs

Postcode for Sat Nav: CR5 1DA Grid ref: TQ301 571

Parking: Free parking

Toilets: Yes

Length of walk: 4 miles (6.4kms) Allow 1.5 hours

Public Transport: South Coulsdon Railway station is 1 mile away. Several bus routes are available.

Food and Drink: There is often an ice cream van at the car park. There is a café in nearby Coulsdon Memorial Gardens.

While you are there: Visit historic Chaldon Church with its unusual medieval murals.

Farthing Downs was traditionally kept as grassland by the constant nibbling of hungry sheep - a practice now reintroduced as part of the management of the area.  Image: Chris HowardFarthing Downs was traditionally kept as grassland by the constant nibbling of hungry sheep - a practice now reintroduced as part of the management of the area. Image: Chris Howard

Free guided walk: Join Chris Howard on one of her free guided walks on the first Sunday of the month – see surreyhillssociety.org for details and COVID-19 updates.

The Walk

1. From the car park cross over the road and follow the grassy hill down towards the woods. Look along the line of trees until you spot the large wooden post with a bright red disc, indicating the Nature Trail. Follow this narrow path down the hill to a T junction.

2. Turn left and continue along this path until you reach a wooden bench and post with a Number 11 red disc and QR code on it.

3. Turn right and follow path down the hill, pass Posts 12 and 13 and after bearing left you reach a wide open grassy path.

4. Almost opposite is a kissing gate with red disc. Go through the gate and bear right up the hill where you will see Post No 14. Follow the path up to another kissing gate at the top of the hill.

5. Go through the gate and turn left, down the hillside. At the next kissing gate take the steps down the hill, back to the wide open grassy path, where you cross over to a memorial bench to Malcom Guille. The red disc on the post indicates a small path into the woods where you will spot Post 15.

Chalk Hillside on Farthing Downs. Image: Chris HowardChalk Hillside on Farthing Downs. Image: Chris Howard

6. Turn left and you will soon pass Post 16. At a large chestnut tree you will see Post 17. Continue forward on the main path until you come out into a large open grassy valley.

7. Keep going straight ahead to a wooden post opposite. Cross over another path and continue up the hillside to Post 18, then follow the path down the hill and back across the grassy valley towards the woods you left at Post 17. Higher up the field is a large wooden footpath signpost indicating Chaldon Church to the left and Farthing Down to the right.

8. Follow the path to the right, back into the wood where Post 19 is to be found. At a sign on a tree saying “Horse Riding Prohibited”, turn almost immediately left onto a smaller path heading up the hill further.

9. At the next Junction you will spot Post 20 as you go left on this path. Keep going up the hill. At the next red unnumbered red disc, turn right up the steps. As you reach a large open field you will spot Post 21.

10. Keep right along the edge of the field and then around to the left until you spot Post 22.

11. Go right down the small path to a pond and bench. Follow the path around the pond to another post with unmarked red disc indicating left. Go through wooden railings and keep following the narrow path ahead. Pass Post 23 through the woodland. At the next junction seek out the unnumbered red disc signpost. Go straight on (do not head to the metal gate and road on your left).

12. The path winds right, then left, then right again until you reach Post 24. Pass through more wooden railings and the path eventually comes out by a road and a white coal tax post. Keep to the right on the path to Post 25 at a T junction.

13. Turn right and keep going. Pass Post 26. At the next junction, by the road (on your left), turn right and follow this path down the hillside. This path becomes quite steep and then has steps down to another T junction.

14. At the T junction a red disc on a post indicates to go left on the main wide path. Pass Posts 27, 28 and 29, before you come back out on the hillside on which you started your walk. Head left up the hill back to the car park.

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