Guided walks in North Holmwood, South Holmwood and Dorking 

Kathy Atherton leads guided walks in the Holmwoods and Dorking for schools, youth groups and adult groups, looking at historical features in the landscape, historic sites and buildings. All walks are accompanied with laminated illustrated material - old photographs, maps and documents.

North Holmwood common and village walk:  

Holmwood's history is written into the landscape at North Holmwood where agriculture and industry have left their marks on the land. Starting from the village hall, you will walk Holmwood Common and the old coaching road, via a 17th century cottage, the old school house, the remains of the 18th century Holmwood pottery, the line of trees that lead to a vanished mansion, the studio of Queen Victoria's favourite sculptor and the site of the brickworks. Learn about the place of the Common in rural life, about commoners' rights, agricultural poverty and isolation, highwaymen and smugglers.

South Holmwood village walk:

Walk around the mainly 19th century village of South Holmwood to uncover some unexpected stories. Visit the Lutyens-designed, Dutch House, home of the suffragette campaigners, Fred and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence which saw dramatic events in 1912 and the nearby Sundial cottage that they built as a holiday home for impoverished London children. The tour will explain the development of the village from a cluster of saw mills and marl pits to 19th century speculative development via the church yard, the voluntary fire brigade HQ, the Holly and Laurel and the old cricket pitch as well as long gone local businesses.

South Holmwood common walk:

The Common walk explores the development of the common from communal grazing and squatting to the development of 19th century mansions for wealthy incomers. From Mill Road NT car park we will walk into the Common viewing the site of the old Holmwood windmill, then via public footpaths to a hidden cluster of squatters' encroachments in the common now turned grand houses, via a hidden gem of an 18th century farm cottage to the specimen trees of the Holmwood Park estate, thence through the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene to the site of an older Holmwood: Nettlefold's 17th century marl pits, the 16th century cottages of Betchets Green and the old meeting house - once Holmwood's only place of worship.

St Mary Magdalene churchyard and church memorial walk:

For a small church St Mary Magdalene has an array of impressive memorials both inside and out. Meet the Prince Regent's divorce lawyer, the great Victorian industrialist George Rennie, the Russian-based merchants, the Cazalets, the 1970s porn queen Mary Millington, the 'Balliol Bugger', Admiral Sir Leopold Heath and his influential family, as well as local characters to build up a picture of life in this enclave of wealth in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dorking town walk:

Explore the history of Dorking through its urban landscape, from its position at the foot of the North Downs chalk. The walk will explain the development of the town from a cluster of traders at Pump Corner to a flourishing market town and turnpike staging post, taking in the old foundry (now the Museum), the only known surviving house of a pilgrim father, the Cotmandene, site of a historic early depiction of cricket, and the coaching inn featured in Dickens' Pickwick Papers.

The Deepdene Trail and the Hope Mausoleum:

Explore the recently restored historic lost landscape of the Deepdene, home of the spectacularly wealthy Hope banking family. Visit its lost gardens, grotto and embattled tower with wonderful views over the Weald, with access to the Grade II* listed Hope Mausoleum. 

Literary Box Hill:

Follow the literary trail from the Burford Bridge Hotel along the River Mole which is mentioned by Spenser, Dryden and Milton, to the site of Jane Austen's picnic in Emma, then over Box Hill, site of the best-selling 19th century 'what-if' novel, the Battle of Dorking, to Merdith's Flint Cottage and Fanny Burney's Camilla Lacey.

Words and Music

Follow the trail of Dorking's literary and musical legacy - including the birthplace of Laurence Oliver, the inn featured in Dicken's Pickwick Papers, Jane Austen's Emma and the legacy of local composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams. 




To book a group walk call Kathy Atherton on 07803 009479

or email