The weather forecaster’s had been predicting a break in the weather for Saturday, no rain, no snow a bit of cloud and perhaps some sunshine if we are lucky too! An ideal chance then to go a bit further afield to do a slightly longer series than I had been able to do of late. So a quick check on the trail map and I settled on the Humble Hike, a series of 51 caches with a few others along the route, 11 miles and only an hour and half away from home.
The series is set in the Surrey hills on the North Downs and starts from a little car park at Fetcham, south of Leatherhead. The location is perfect for walking and appears to be a mecca for dog walkers, mountain bikers and all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts, particularity on a nice day like today, so be warned stealth is needed through some parts of the trail.
When Pip and I arrived at just after 9am, there were only a few spaces left in the little car park. I’m sure that there would have been plenty of places in nearby streets and it appears that people park along the roadside of the nearby Bocketts Farm Park, which as you can imagine was also welcoming lots of visitors today.
The trail breaks down into 3 sections. The first part heads south west across the Fetcham Downs to Polesden Lacey an extensive Edwardian estate and house owned by the National Trust. C-Kit, the cache owner for this series also owns another series that goes around the whole of the estate. If there had been more daylight hours available I would have been tempted to include that in my walk too. It would have easily been possible to combine the two series by hoping from the Humble Hike at no. 10 onto the Polesden Lacey series at no. 1 and then back on to the Humble Hike at no. 11.
The second section is the shortest. Leaving Polesden Lacey and skirting along the edge of Ranmore Common, through Tanner’s Hatch, passing the YHA cottage in the woods and eventually arriving at Westhumble. There was some kind of cross country race taking place in the area today and we were passed by several runners along this stretch of the walk. At Westhumble we took a little detour into the village and picked up a very nice Church Micro and Sidetracked cache.
The final part of the trail lead us back home, through Norbury Park a swathe of land arranged around a small manor house which is owned by Surrey County Council but managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust on their behalf. The manor house occupies a commanding position on top of the hill. We got a good view of it as we headed along a very muddy path to the woods. Along this part of the walk we tracked closely to the River Mole. However, our first glimpse of it was from position, a hundred feet or so above, on the edge of a near vertical drop down to the swollen river below! After crossing underneath the railway track the trail turned and headed for home. We passed through the Bocketts Farm park and then along a footpath parallel to the main road to return to the car park.
Although it was a dry day, it was bitterly cold in the wind. Nevertheless, this trail goes on my recommended list for being a fantastic trail, well maintained by C-Kit and in a wonderful location. It’s a long trail but thoroughly rewarding.
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