It was one of those days in Britain, when weather prediction proved itself wrong once again and to our luck it turned out to be an amazing sunny day for a long walk. We decided to walk up to Leith Hill and Abinger Forest in district of Mole Valley. When I entered Surrey, I was mesmerized with this beautiful place, to be frank I did not know Surrey is so beautiful. There is a lot to discover in this county, for this time we limited ourselves to this walk.
There are numerous trails to discover Leith Hill and woodlands around. There are a lot of Car Parks available at start of each of the walking trail, so there are no parking worries. Everything is well-marked and visible. From our Landslip car park, we walked up to 2 miles to reach Leith Hill, it was an easy walk, only a small steep climb rest of the walk was fairly simple. On the summit of Leith Hill is an 18th-century Gothic tower, with panoramic views northwards to London and the English Channel to the south. One fact- When you are at the top of this tower, you are actually at a height higher than Shard (http://the-shard.com/) .There is a small fee to go up on the tower 1.50 GBP for an adult.
If a day is good like it was for us, you are in a proper walking boots and in the mood for a good long walk, you will have a choice to pick up one of the various routes from http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/leith-hill/things-to-see-and-do/walking/. I choose woodland trail,a peaceful walk crossing Leith Hill Place, woodland. The route in the map(www.nationaltrust.org.uk/) bring you back to LeithHill but since day was lovely and we wanted to explore more, we decided to deviate from route and decided to complete circular route back to Leith Hill crossing Friday Street.
Now that is where our adventure began. We started this walk without a mapped route, without any signals on phone and without a compass too. We had walked up till now 6Kms and were clueless about KMs that were yet to come along. Everything was beautiful around this valley- Friday Street hamlet , hammer ponds, woodlands. It was one of those days when you put your HAT on and venture out to meet nature.
Transfixed with the beauty we were soon off the track and in the middle of Abinger Forest. We had walked 11Kms by now and had no direction with us. I started to get a little bit worried as it was already 6.30PM and it would have got dark soon as we were in a dense woodland. To be frank I freaked out for a while and asked Ashwin(Oh Yes! my partner in all this venture) to take me out of this place before it gets dark. After every few yards you will see different path- a crossing that takes you in 4 directions and we had no idea which direction to go ahead with. There was not a single person around for miles, we kept on walking uphill- downhill, choosing a direction on gut and it did not take us long to realise that we actually have no idea if route we choose is taking us more into this forest or if we are coming out of it.
At that moment thought of getting stuck in this forest for a night frightened me,I was not scared of animals (I knew there will be no wild animals :), but somewhere deep inside my heart said what if there is one ) and I started to think about possibility of spending a night here. We had no compass, no signals in phones, half-filled water bottle, no jackets, no food. And all these thoughts increased my speed of walking, now I was cruising through this woodland.
Yes !Finally with God’s grace we were on a correct trail that brought us out on to the main road and that’s when I took a relief sigh. We had walked 15-16 Kms by now, and I was hungry, feet were tired and I wanted my home. Signal in phone was back, we traced our path back to car park .
On the way back home, I thought may be it was my over worked up mind that thought we actually got lost for a while today, may be we were not lost at all and it was kid inside me who got worried when we were in that dense woodland.
But the heart said- What if we got tired of walking and had to stay there? Would it be an exciting night? A night to remember for many years 🙂 Well no idea about that but one thing for sure, never go unprepared for a hike, you never know about circumstances that comes along.
It was a long exciting day, could not try any local cider or burger (obvious reasons). Next time !!!