Braving the January mud

A record-equalling 16 walkers, including four partners, left the White Lion on January 12 2018 and headed south along Limpsfield Road. The group turned into Blanchman's Farm Nature Reserve and encountered the first of the notorious Warlingham mud and wetland.

The magnificent sixteen

After emerging near the top of Bug Hill we headed down a steep woodland path, steadying ourselves by grasping convenient trees, until we reached Plantation Lane, the track which contours above Woldingham Golf Course in the Halliloo Valley. The watery wintery sunlight helped us enjoy the views across the valley and up to Nore Hill, reviving memories of previous walks. 

After turning left on to High Lane, the group re-crossed the Limpsfield Road and passed the Greenlawn Memorial Garden to reach Chelsham Common. Navigator Dave, bringing up the rear, confused the group by detouring to investigate The Bull pub on the common, but rejoined them near the entrance to the old Warlingham Park Hospital. 

Roger braves the mud

After the group turned left towards Farleigh, Phil Willis provided local expertise by finding a detour via a grassy field rather than a muddy path on the way to St Mary the Virgin Church, where the choir sang at Dick Diplock's daughter's wedding some years earlier.

Soon the group piled into The Harrow at Farleigh and occupied prime real estate in front of a roaring fire. After a warm-up and a parting song, the group struck north along Farleigh Road, then turned on to a very muddy and puddly path towards Warlingham, where walking poles and stout footwear proved their worth.  

Roger: "Shouldn't there be an apostrophe?"  Roger: "Not sure."

The group paused at Warlingham Church where Phil used his local knowledge to lead the group into the graveyard to inspect the tomb of Joseph Swan, inventor of the electric light bulb. The group exited the rear gate and traversed more muddy paths behind Warlingham, returning to the White Lion.

The group were surprised to find veteran choir walker Martin Perkins and debutant Roger Parkinson already there. Apparently they had declined to follow us into the graveyard, not knowing we were going to exit from the rear. No one had noticed they were missing and it was fortunate they knew the short cut back along the road to the pub. The group tucked into dinner in the familiar room off the main bar in the White Lion, and entertained the locals with a couple of songs before leaving.

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