I spent a perfect Saturday morning on an adventure with the Wild Trail Runners crew and explored new trails and some more familiar ones.
Weronika had planned a beautiful route from Coulsdon South to Boxhill but due to timings and a later than hoped start – silly Southern trains! – I ran with them to Reigate Hill before jumping on the train back to London from Reigate.
From Coulsdon South station we took a right onto Marlpit Lane and another onto Downs Lane to bring us up onto Farthing Downs, a beautiful stretch of lush green with views to the London skyline and a vast stretch of countryside. Before reaching the car park we took a left across Ditches Lane towards Happy Valley, enjoying the crisp and frosty trails steeped in sunshine. Here I was reminded of a very cold and snowy XC race last season and felt relieved that the weather was on our side this time!
Through muddy potato fields and leafy, wooded forests we took a little detour into Alderstead Heather before cutting through Tollsworth Manor Farm. As we took a right to start descending towards a motorway crossing I recognised the familiar North Downs Way arrows, as we had joined this fantastic trail and were heading towards Merstham.
After crossing the busy M23 over the bridge we followed Rockshaw Road into the town before skirting Gatton Park. For a moment we ran through the expansive grounds of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School before finding a trail again and climbing through Great Buck Wood to finally arrive at Reigate Hill, 12km later.
As we regrouped and refuelled, taking in the incredible views from the top of the hill, I decided to continue running down towards the town centre of Reigate to catch the train back, leaving the others to continue to Boxhill, another 10km away.
It was a beautiful morning outside, cold but bearable once you got moving and it was lovely to see and chat to new faces, explore new parts Surrey and run some of the familiar NDW trail in reverse. This might be my last adventure on the North Downs Way until I return in May to take on Centurion’s NDW50, my first 50 MILE race, eeek!
Wild Trail Runners plan and lead monthly trail runs all within travelling distance of London, so be sure to check out their Facebook page for details of their next adventure in 2018!