Saturday, 16 June 2018

16/06/18 - London Countryway Stage 5 - Oxted to Merstham

Distance - 10 Miles
Start - Oxted
Finish - Merstham
Geocaches - 16
Pubs - 2
Previous Stages - Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3, Stage 4

Stage 4 of the London Countryway ended unceremoniously in the Oxted Wetherspoons.   A place tainted by the tipsy, reeling and drop down pissed at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon.

It left an undeserved sour taste in the mouth for Oxted.  At 9:30am, a mere two stops from London Bridge, I was more taken by its black and white independent shops and a lovely looking Everyman Cinema.   I could potentially live here, if I was ever minted enough.

And the nicer pubs are out to the West on the Godstone Road.

West Oxted
West Oxted's Pair of Pubs
The main purpose of the London Countryway today is to introduce me to the North Downs Way, which is picked up after a lung busting pull up Tandridge Hill.   Once the height is gained, its all plain sailing on a lovely ridge walk that leaves me begging for more.   The NDW gets added to an ever growing list of future walks.

Climbing to North Downs Way
Climbing Tandridge Hill

The walking is easy, the paths are perfect and the Geocaches are imaginative.  I have an endless roll of photos looking down to the South Downs and when there's a gap in the trees, a few of an unexpected vista of the City.

From North Downs to South Downs
Looking South
Unexpected City Vistas
Picking out the landmarks looking North


8 miles in, with the Water having expired at 5, I'm provided with welcome refreshment at the Harrow, Chaldon.  Reach the folly tower of Whitehill, take a 160m detour to enjoy a freshly changed London Pride that was worthy of its name.

Whitehill Tower
Of no historical importance, a mere folly built in 1862
The Harrow, Chaldon
Chaldon's Harrow
The Harrow, Chaldon
Perfect Pint

A simple drop down into the ending point at Merstham, taking advantage of a trig point for a selfie.

Mappiman on South Downs Way
North Downs Way Selfie
Dropping down to Mershtham
Dropping down into Mestham

Mersthams a small village that had two pubs but only the Feathers remains.  A Food & Football place to wait for the 30 minutes train back to the Smoke.

The Feathers
Pub and Dining at the Feathers
I'll avoid the temptation of saying this is the best leg of the Countryway..... I've read the guidebook and from here to Boxhill comes highly praised indeed.

Let's just say the best so far...

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