Day 7 on the Pilgrims Way

Misty start
I took a bus back to Reigate Hill. From there, I tried to find the path back to rejoin the Pilgrims’ Way. I followed a track and even went into someone’s garden by mistake. After that I came back to the road and found a clue that led me up a steep climb and onto the correct path.

The path at the top, crossed a footbridge, leading to what’s called Gatton Park, where there’s a car park and a cafe serving breakfasts and coffees. It was misty and little could be seen from a viewing point. Gatton Park itself is a wooded area with two paths.
The paths joined and led past a millennium stone circle with a stone for every 200 years between the time Jesus was born and the millennium. Each stone had some writing from that period, beginning with John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.”

From there, the path led around a school, the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, a state boarding school. It also crossed a golf course where I met another walker. He said that he topped up his water bottle in churchyards where they always had a tap, and even knocked on doors for water.

I came out on Quality Street, in Merstham, which is a street that looks rather like the houses on the original Quality Street box of chocolates.

The path crossed the eight lane M25 which had warnings of congestion after the next junction. What a roar!

I went to St. Katherine’s Church and found that it was open. They had a pilgrim stamp, so that was a surprise. The church itself, until about 150 years ago, had some murals. One of them showed Thomas Becket being murdered by four knights. This suggests that it was on the original Pilgrims’ Way.

The path followed Rockshaw Road over two railways and then under the M23.
White Hill
The path then crossed a field. Looking back from that field there were some open views looking west.

The path became enclosed by trees again at the top. It came to a road with a sign for Chaldon AD 1086. Down the road is a church with a wall painting from around 1200. In the lower left quadrant where murderers are being burned, there is a pilgrim who has sold his pilgrim’s cloak to buy drink and got drunk (inset).
Pilgrims Way
The path then crossed a road I used to cycle down when I worked in Caterham. It is very steep and near the Harrow pub. Nearby is a folly tower with a cavernous hole at the bottom that didn’t look safe.

And further on I came to a very old farm. Looking north, I could see tall buildings in the distance, possibly central London – one of them might have been the shard.

It was a revelation to find views I did not remember at a place I thought I knew well. The next surprise was where the path came out at Caterham Viewpoint with a wide view south over the countryside. I sat there for a while, and even saw a buzzard.

I followed the path down towards the A22 but I got it a wrong and ended up going down the wrong steps which led to a path over the M25. It didn’t really matter because it turned out to be a shorter cut to Godstone where I could catch a bus.

I got the bus to Nutfield, my old village, and had a look around there, even came across Ken coming out of his allotment. He’s one of the few people I still know in the village. He said he’d been there 61 years. He has walked most of the Pilgrims Way but not in one go. He used to take people on walks around the village and knows every path and byway for miles around.

I then had a good meal at the Station hotel. The best Pad Thai I’d ever tasted. I asked how they had done it so quick. Answer: In a Wok.

As it would have been my dad’s birthday, I visited the memorial garden at Christchurch.

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