running the North Downs
I ran this route a few times when I lived here on Quality Street (yes Quality Street, really) and recently Mark & I took part of this trail when we went mountain bike riding around/ up/ across the North Downs.
It’s a great run actually; kicking off by the Merstham Cricket Ground, across the Reigate Hill Golf Club, along a sheltered piece of footpath, little bit of road, through the grounds of a private school, bridle path through the woods up to the Reigate Hill carpark, bridge, proper country lane between some cottages and the woods, then boom you’re out on top of the Downs.
I didn’t love every stride, but almost. I was cold to start, poor me, but aside from that each piece of the route was faster/ shorter/ easier than I remember. The bridle path piece was my favourite going up because it was the most trail-like – heaps of tree roots, loose stones, and it was a good gradient. If anything I would have liked it to be longer. I should say the mud was bonkers, it was very soft, plentiful and soon so much was wedged between the toes of my Vibrams that I was carrying a lot of extra weight and my toes were getting cold from their mud pack!
The light at the top of the hill was fantastic, just heading in to dusk, it was hazy with shiny rays coming in low. It was a blowy Autumn day and everything just felt very English. The descent was good – really muddy and fun. Ah, Reigate Hill, what was the fuss ever about..?
I couldn’t take pictures while I was running so here are some shots from other times on Reigate Hill