Walk: Charlwood circular

25 March 2012

Half an hour from Clapham Junction is Horley, a sad, characterless town centre, surrounded by wide avenues of discreetly plush houses, and then, beyond the encircling A roads, quiet villages of thatched and Tudor cottages.

15 minutes cycle brings me to Charlwood with its fabulous church of St Nicholas, complete with original medieval wall paintings. Then across fields, behind paddocks, along a road, all rather boring, but you have, without realising it, climbed up Russ Hill and now, suddenly, you turn into Mount Noddy Wood, a few wonderful acres of ancient, broad-leaved woodland, open, with no brambles or undergrowth, just miles of bright green bluebell shoots burgeoning from the grey and brown leaf litter, overarched by slender birch and beech trees, many of which have been pollarded to the ground making the multiple trunks twisted and sinuous as if they’ve frozen in mid-dance. Steps down a steep gully to the little bridge over Welland Gill, where I stopped for my picnic. Complete peace. Utter solitude, the sun filtering through the branches and glittering on the muddy little English stream. Magical!

Steps down to the bridge over Welland Gill in Mount Noddy Wood

Steps down to the bridge over Welland Gill in Mount Noddy Wood

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