Sunday morning, it’s 8am and Shaun informs us that the weather is set to be good until early afternoon when it’s going to rain. So we got up and outside – after our previous trip was cut short we tried the Gatton Park Trail again!
The Gatton Park Trail is in Reigate, situated near Reigate Fort and at the top of a very large hill looking down over the Surrey Downs – you get excellent views of planes taking off and landing at Gatwick. The walk goes around Gatton Park as the land is split, of the 600 acres 340 is owned by the National Trust, and 260 by The Gatton Trust. We only got to the National Trust side, as the Gatton side is open the first Sunday of every month until October (and also qualifies in the Gardeners World 2 for 1 on gardens ticket, if you bought the April edition).
It is a circular walk which is popular with dog walkers, horse riders and cyclists – and us! The best bit? As we walked around almost everyone said “morning!” – a real nice cheery start to our day.
It’s buggy-friendly (if you need one), though there are some evil hills. There’s plenty of seats to rest (especially if you’ve a tired four year old who has done really well with all the walking), we found loads of bramble bushes too which was great for foraging – we had a yummy bramble and apple pie for tea that night – and checked off number 21 on the 50 Things Challenge for this year – H is doing pretty well with these! We all failed trying to catch leaves.
As far as accessibility goes, parking is free nearby (you don’t have to be a National Trust member), with refreshments in the car park at a reasonable price (and the only toilets are there as well). The Gatton Park Trail is free, and open all year round. Allow a couple of hours to do it – there are nine unnumbered markers along the way, and free maps from the refreshment area.
You can hear the M25 in the distance too.
We found parts of the Gatton Park Trail muddy but that wasn’t a problem, we had good walking shoes on so we were fine (but muddy). Mid-way you get to see the Millenium Stones – ten standing stones to mark the double Millenium, with each stone representing a 200 year segment. They’re in the middle of a field owned by sheep and goats, so remember to close the gate…!
It was an enjoyable walk and one I’d like to do at a different time of year, maybe in Springtime. Our next stop is to get to Gatton Park itself in October, before it closes until next year – the gardens look amazing!