Explore Epsom and Langley Vale – free guided walk

2nd April 2023, 11:00 - 13:00

Explore Epsom and Langley Vale

Sunday 2 April 2023
Meet 10.30am for a prompt 11am start
Finish 1pm

Join Chris Howard & Ken Bare to enjoy the stunning views around Epsom Racecourse and explore the Woodlands Trust site at Langley Vale on this leisurely 6km (3.7 miles) walk.

The Epsom Downs area of chalk upland forms part of the North Downs. Since 1984, the area has been managed by the Epsom and Walton Downs Conservators, which consists of Epsom & Ewell borough councillors, representatives of the Epsom Downs Racecourse and one from the racehorse trainers. They are responsible for the maintenance and control of the Downs and the cost of this is split between them.

The first recorded race at Epsom Downs was in 1661, although racing is believed to have taken place even earlier in the century. The course is probably best known for The Derby and The Oaks, although a full programme of racing and other events takes place during the year. The racecourse is owned by The Jockey Club. For many years, the surrounding area has been home to numerous important racing stables and horses being exercised on the Gallops are a regular daily sight.

During WW1 Langley Vale was the site of Tadworth Camp, where new recruits were trained in the basics of trench warfare, how to shoot rifles, and how to protect themselves from a gas attack. At its peak 8,000 soldiers were billeted across eight camp sites in a vast sea of tents. The Regiment of Trees & Witness Sculpture was created as part of the WW1 centenary celebrations to commemorate Lord Kitchener’s inspection of the troops in January 1915. Sandstone sculptures of soldiers have been erected in a grid of 80 trees.

‘Witness’ by John Merrill, was erected in Langley Vale Woodland site during 2021. It is constructed from about 35 pieces of oak, each six metres high and represents the desolate trees that stood in no-man’s land. It was inspired by Paul Nash’s war paintings that show the landscape of the Somme being bare, apart from the twisted forms of dead trees. Carved into the wood are extracts from seven poems written during WWI poets. This includes: ‘Lights Out’ by Edward Thomas, ‘Afterwards’ by Margaret Postgate and ‘Futility’ by Wilfred Owen.

The walk will take you alongside the Community Orchard where Sainsbury’s funded the planting of over 140 apple, pear, cherry and plum trees to create an orchard. This is a special site, where community groups are encouraged to get involved with pruning and maintaining the orchard as well as enjoying the harvest. Beyond the orchard is a section known as the Avenue of Cherry Trees which commemorates Sainsbury’s employees who lost their lives during the conflict.

The walk is 3.7 miles long, is quite hilly and can be muddy, so strong footwear is recommended. Except in dangerous weather conditions, the event will go ahead so please dress appropriately for the prevailing weather conditions.

This walk is not pushchair friendly or suitable for those with mobility issues.

Well behaved dogs are welcome.

There is an open air café available for refreshments at start and end of walk.

Please indicate in the comments box if you would like to join Chris Howard for lunch in The Rubbing House pub (at your own cost) or book directly with your friends.

Meet: The Hut car park, Tattenham Corner Road, Epsom KT18 5PP

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Grid ref: TQ223583

Deadline for booking 30 March 2023

For further enquiries contact

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This event is fully booked. If you wish to have your name on our waiting list, please let us know via email or contact form.


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