Rain and mud weren’t enough to deter people from joining today’s 8½ mile walk. Twenty-six arrived for the start in the Chantries car park near the A281.
We set off east along the North Downs Way and stopped by St Martha’s Chapel for coffee. The top of the hill was covered in cloud so the view south was limited to about 100 metres. Our leaders had a surprise for us—they offered round tumblers of warm mulled wine and chocolates.
Resuming the walk we continued on the NDW to the Downs Link and headed south on that. By the time we reached Lockner Farm the clouds had lifted so now we could see St Martha’s Chapel on the top of the hill, and rain had ceased. We crossed the A248 and the railway line and turned left on a footpath that went over a field, past Postford Farm Cottages and reached Blackheath Lane. We continued east on a footpath to Ford Farm and turned north on a bridleway to Albury Warren. Here we encountered a rickety stile where teamwork was necessary. One post was loose and both steps were sloped and slippery. Having negotiated the hazard safely we continued north on a footpath, reached Warren Lane (track), turned left on a lane that passed a church, turned right at a junction and reached the A248 by The Drummond Arms, our stop for lunch.
Ten of us ate lunch in the pub. We ordered in advance; the food was tasty (the chips were excellent) and was served remarkably quickly.
The afternoon part of the walk was shorter than the morning part. We headed west on the A248 to Guildford Lane, continued on this to a bridleway on the left by a right-hand bend, continued west to pass the derelict Tyting Farm, reached the NDW again and retraced our steps back to the car park.
No paths were flooded and the mud was not as bad as some feared. One person described it as clean mud; it was not the sort that stuck to one’s boots.
Map: OS X 145