The week of 23 to 29 May has marked Community Rail Week. This annual initiative has, for 2022, been focused on increasing confidence and encouraging people to travel by train. Under the strapline ‘Give the Train a Try’ many rail lines have been hosting or participating in events to promote their local areas.
The Southeast Communities Rail Partnership, Great Western Railways and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have a longstanding relationship, having jointly created a range of self-guided walks, installed signage to highlight that many stations are within the Surrey Hills AONB and generally promoted this wonderful landscape to their travellers.
To mark Community Rail Week, the Surrey Hills Society (SHS) hosted a walk between Gomshall and Dorking, based on one of the most recently published routes which covers four walks between Shalford and Betchworth stations. SHS members, supporters of this North Downs line and additional walkers were seen off from Gomshall Station by the mayor of Guildford, Dennis Booth at the start of their 10km walk.
Walking through some of our wonderful Surrey Hills AONB countryside including Piney Wood (donated to National Trust by the author of “A Passage to India”, EM Forster) we also came to the Wilberforce Memorial on Abinger Roughs and the Adonis Blue butterfly sculpture on Denbies Hillside.
Our walk ended at Denbies Vineyard where we were greeted by the Chair of Mole Valley District Council, Paul Potter. After leisurely refreshments, it was off to Dorking Deepdene station for our train trip back to Gomshall.
These Rail to Ramble walks are available to download at www.surreyhills.org/route/walking-running/ or can be picked up as leaflets from the Tourist Information Centre in Guildford High Street or the SHS table in the Zero Centre (14-16 Friary Street Guildford).
If you would like to get involved with the Surrey Hills Society please see our website.