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Warlingham wanderings

The group welcomed three debutantes to the walk on 24 October: Ben and Sue Kennedy, and Jennie Willis. After leaving the White Lion in Warlingham, they traversed Blanchman's Farm Nature Reserve before emerging into the sunshine overlooking the Woldingham Valley.

The group contours Woldingham Valley

While the walkers admired the sumptuous views, navigator Dave explained the periodic rise of the Caterham Bourne and its source in the valley, and the chaos caused downstream as the waters flooded parts of Whyteleafe and Kenley a couple of years ago. He pointed out the dams and sluices that had since been built to contain the water.




The walkers pause in the valley floor

The next pause was to test the acoustics of the subways leading to "Britain's first elevated traffic island", otherwise known as Wapses Lodge Roundabout, opened in April 1939. The roundabout has served many functions over the years, initially as a unplanned navigation aid for both sides in the Battle of Britain, then as a football arena for Dave and Phil Willis who had lived nearby in their youth, and finally as a bowl ready to contain the waters of the Bourne if the levels had risen any further in 2014.

The group then passed through the rolling meadows of Manor Park and down a side road to Whyteleafe, stopping to pay their respects at Phil Willis's family graves in St Luke's Churchyard.

The push up the Dobbin, near Whytleafe

After (limited) refreshment at the Whyteleafe Tavern – remarkably, a pub with no beer – the walkers did well to survive the steep ascent of The Dobbin, the wooded area behind Whyteleafe Rec, and were rewarded by extensive views from the Riddlesdown plateau. Thereafter the going was flat, although as we crossed Warlingham Rugby Club, former rugby players in the group recalled how they had splashed around in a sea of mud and bodies there some years earlier.

Reaching the top

The group was joined for dinner at the White Lion by Peter and Hilary Smith. Both staff and customers insisted that we provided musical entertainment and, as usual, how could we resist? Eventually after great food, prices and hospitality, we escaped into the crisp autumnal evening with a chorus of Calon Lan.

Ben and Sue get it on

Next walk is from the Fox and Hounds, Tilburstow (near South Godstone) at 1pm on Monday 14 November. Anniversary walks for the dramatic 2015 Winter Solstice Walk, and the 2012 Founding Walk in February, will follow.

 

 
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