There is no better way to keep fit without the risk of injury than to regularly go for a walk. As long ago as the 1960s, fitness guru Kenneth Cooper said that the best way to maintain your fitness was to walk five miles or 10,000 steps a day. Walking, as Cooper and the majority of the medical profession agree, is a great way to keep supple, work your muscles, maintain the health of your heart and lungs and to de-stress from the rigours of modern living. No matter what issues have been wearing you down at work, a brisk walk will clear your mind, get your blood moving faster around your body – meaning that you get more oxygen to your muscles and organs – and generally you will feel so much better.
Where to walk?
The area around Epsom is perfect for people looking to get out and about in the countryside, away from traffic and fumes, but close enough to Epsom and the surrounding villages so you can get there quickly. We have chosen two walks for you to do, they are both approximately five miles in length and very well signposted, and they give you the opportunity to enjoy the very best of the beautiful Epsom Downs.
Walk 1: Horsing around
This is a five-mile walk around the race-course, and should take you a minimum of two hours if you are walking at a steady pace. The circular walk is mainly along broad, easy-to-follow bridleways and there is an overall ascent of about 120 metres. From the mini-roundabout near Downs Lunch Box, take the bridleway to Walton Road. Cross the race course and continue along the broad, waymarked lane. You will walk through a wooded area and over the gallops. After just over a mile, the path hits a six-way junction. Think of it as a roundabout and take the third exit down a scrubby path. This takes you past Nohome Farm. Follow the path for about a mile-and-a-half through and out of the valley. At the junction of Hurst Road and Ebbisham Lane, take Ebbisham Lane, heading South. This will bring you to Walton Street. Pass the Fox and Hounds, then turn left at The Bell pub sign. After a very short walk fork right at Whithybed Corner and follow the lane to the Bell. From here you take the bridleway back to the start point. Pass the coal post and then follow the bridleway for about two miles until you reach Epsom Lane North. This is just two hundred yards from the car park at Downs Lunch Box. The map reference is: OS Explorer 146 Dorking, Box Hill and Reigate. Start/finish TQ 223584 (with thanks to The AA – www.theaa.com)
Walk 2: Views across the capital
Our second walk is a five-mile walk (OS Map Explorer 1:125 000 161) through the beautiful countryside at Chessington.The directions start at Chessington South train station and the route is well marked with discs bearing the walk’s logo. From the station turn right down Garrison Lane and follow this to Kingston Road. Cross the road and turn right up a lane leading to Barwell Court. A kissing gate on your left leads onto Winey Hill. (Here you will see a magnificent view of the Thames Valley and London). Walk up the hill, through the trees and bear left along the summit. Now follow a path through a kissing gate and turn left once you are over a stile. Follow the path to Leatherhead Road. Cross over the road and join the bridleway to Rushett Lane. Follow the bridleway up a hill and through another gate onto Ashtead Common. Follow the bridleway along the edge of the Common, ignoring side turnings. You will come to Stew Pond on Epsom Common. Go past the pond and then uphill. Follow the bridleway until you come to the entrance to West Park hospital. Cross the road and follow a narrow path to each a gap that takes you into Horton Country Park. Follow the pathway through the country park. Eventually you will leave the park and emerge onto Green Lane. Turn left onto the lane and follow the pavement until you come to a path that takes you across a golf course. Follow this over the top of a hill. You will eventually arrive on Garrison Lane and the train station. Both these walks should be used in addition to the referenced maps.