Country walks outside London

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    Coulsdon South circular, Surrey

    Best for picnickingLength 14.2km (8.9 miles). Duration Four hours 30 minutes.Start and finish Coulsdon South Station.Getting there Two trains per hour (more at peak times; one per hour on Sundays) run from London Bridge and London Victoria to Coulsdon South (journey time: 23-39 minutes). Coulsdon South is within Zone 6. There is very limited parking at Coulsdon South.Walk notes Considering that it starts in the suburbs of London, this walk passes through some remarkably unspoilt countryside. Farthing Down, Kenley Common, Riddlesdown and Coulsdon Commons are all ancient grazing lands, lovingly preserved as part of the London greenbelt. In spring, the area is famous for its wild flowers, including, in early May, several bluebell woods. In summer, there are numerous idyllic spots for a picnic along the way – if you’d prefer a pub lunch, stop at The Fox (01883 330 401) on Coulsdon Commons. By starting in Riddlesdown, also within Zone 6, you can make the walk slightly longer to 16.8km (10.5 miles). Trains to Riddlesdown go from Victoria, with a journey time of 30 minutes.OS Landranger Map 187.OS Explorer Map 146 (and 161 if you start in Riddlesdown).


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    Lewes via West Firle circular, East Sussex

    Best for spectacular sceneryLength 23.3km (14.5 miles).Duration Six hours.Start and finish Lewes, Glynde or Southease stations.Getting there Trains run twice hourly from London Victoria to Lewes (journey time: one hour five minutes). From London Bridge and other Thameslink stations, change at East Croydon. Drivers should park in Lewes; the station has a car park.Walk notes This route can be divided into three, each being fine walks in their own right. Put together they add up to a grand day’s circuit surrounded by stunning scenery. The main walk starts in the historic town of Lewes, with the early section having fine views over the town and castle. After reaching a secluded valley, skylarks can often be heard above. The middle section along the South Downs Way offers extensive views both inland and towards the port of Newhaven. The final leg re-enters Lewes along the banks of the River Ouse. The walk has 360 metres of ascent spread over three steep hills, but in between there are long, mainly level, paths.The different sections of the walk each have a station at the beginning and end. Lewes to Glynde is 5km (3 miles), Glynde to Southease is 11.8km (7.4 miles) and Southease to Lewes is 6.5km (4 miles). The latter is completely flat. Glynde and Southease are on separate train lines but each has trains hourly to Lewes.Firle’s Ram Inn (The Street/01273 858 222) serves wholesome food at reasonable prices for lunch, while the Garden Room Café & Gallery (14 Station Street/01273 478636) in Lewes is tops for tea.OS Landranger Map 198.OS Explorer Map 122 and 123.

    Useful contacts

    National Rail Enquiries 08457 48 49 50/ www.nationalrail.co.ukVia Michelin route planner www.viamichelin.com

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