River Mole Stepping Stones, Box Hill Fort, Broadwoods Tower – hiking adventure

Date: 10.06.2017

Start time: 11:25am

It’s quite a demanding hike with climbs that can make you short of breath, but equally reward you with views that will take your breath away.

What’s included: guided hike, train tickets, admin fee

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2017-06-10 11:25am

Meeting point

Clapham Junction Station


6.2 miles


It’s quite a demanding hike with climbs that can make you short of breath, but equally reward you with views that will take your breath away.

Length: 10 kilometres (6.2 miles)

Ascent: 352 metres

Descent: 468 metres

Difficulty: It is strenuous; climbing steep hills and dropping into deep valleys but at the same time quite a short hike. The ground is rough in places and includes steep slopes, slippery paths and many steps. Please make sure you have suitable clothing, footwear and provisions. It can be very muddy at times, so good walking shoes are necessary.

Lunch: We will stop for food towards the end of the walk, so you may need some sandwiches to keep you going. I have booked a table at The Stepping Stones pub for 4:00pm. Please email them at steppingstonespub@gmail.com with your order – to make sure they can prepare it quickly for you.

What’s included: the hike, train ticket and admin fee.

What’s excluded: food, drinks.

Meeting point and time: We will meet at 11:25 a.m. at Clapham Junction Station at the main entrance, next to the ticket offices. It’s the one that goes out to St John’s Hill, with the Sainsbury’s, Costa and Cafe Nero.

We will make our way to the platform at 11:38 a.m. If you are late I’m afraid we will not be able to wait and you will be missing the trip. Of course if you want, you can try to catch up with us at the platform, but the host will be making sure the group gets on the right train, so you will have to figure out the way. Also, you will have to find another way of getting in as I will have your train ticket.

Train*: We will aim to take the 11:48 am train from Clapham Junction, arriving in Box Hill & Westhumble at 12:36 pm.

*Please note that as the rail network is very unreliable, those details might change depending on the train delays and we may take an earlier or later train. The decision might need to be taken by the leader on the spot to suit the group’s needs. If you do not arrive at the meeting time, we can not guarantee that you will be able to catch up with the group as the leader may not be able to update you about any changes – even if you call or message them, as sometimes the phone network might not be available and often they might be busy taking care of the group. Leader’s priority will always have to be the customers that arrived on time. We add the train details in order to help you out if you have problems getting to the meeting point on time, but take no responsibility for any changes – so the only way to ensure you do not miss out on the event is to arrive on time at the meeting point.

Weather: Please make sure that you are dressed appropriately to the weather (make sure to bring either you waterproofs or a sunscreen). We will not cancel the trip unless the conditions make it dangerous for us to make the walk. If the trip was cancelled you would of course be refunded.

River Mole Stepping Stones:

There are different stories behind the name ‘Mole’. The river may be named after the burrowing animal, as some stretches flow underground during dry periods. Another theory is that it is named after the Roman word for mill (mola).

Seventeen hexagonal stepping stones cross the river at the foot of Box Hill. If you are feeling nimble, hop across the stepping stones, looking out for fish on your way. You might be lucky enpough to see the electric-blue flash of a kingfisher darting past.

The Tower or Broadwood’s Folly:

The Tower was built by Thomas Broadwood, a member of the family that manufactured quality pianos, including royal commissions. Built around 1815 it stands above Juniper Hall, the family home.

The tree now growing through the tower is an evergreen Holm Oak. This non-native species wasn’t planted in the tower, but probably grew from a seed dropped by a passing bird.

The Box Hill Fort:

The fort was built in the late 1800s during a crisis period in British history. It was part of London defence scheme, literally a last ditch attempt to save the capital of the empire.

The nineteenth century saw revolutionary changes in military hardware and tactics. On the oceans wood and sail were giving way to steel and steam, large artilery guns were becoming more accurate and more destructive, infantry rifles became quicker to reload. Britan’s construction of modern warship had not kept pace with her enemies, particularly the French. British forces were spread thinly across huge empire and London was vulenrable to invasion. If London fell, the whole empire was likely to follow. The capital had to be protected whilst naval forces were bolstered.

Box Hill was one of thirteen military instalations forming a series of defence seventy two miles long, known as London Defence Scheme. It was designed as a last ditch stop line to protect London from south and east.

Now referred to as Forts, these structures were oryginally comissioned as Mobilisation Centres. They were designed as supply depots, providing tools and ammunition to regular soldiers, volunteers and contracted labour.

The whole hillside would have been a line of defence and soldiers could be moved quickly along trenches to counter any enemy advance. The soldiers would have been in a very strong position, being equipped with rapid firing rifles, protected by an earth trench and occupying high ground.

Please give yourself enough time to find the meeting point – it is quite a large station and has many entrances, please check the TFL journey planner for any planned engineering works and please allow enough time for any unplanned disruptions to your journey. If you are late and miss the group no refunds will be provided and there will be no use calling us and asking us to wait as I’m afraid I will not be keeping 30 people who made it on time, waiting for a late comer.

As it gets quite hectic when everyone starts arriving and looking for the meeting point, please don’t email me or leave a voice mail as I will not have time to check it until after the hike. If you realise last minute that you can not make it – please text me.

Clothing and Equipment list:



Please note that unless the trip is cancelled the payments are non-refundable as the costs need to be paid in advance. However you may be able to sell your place to your friends or other group members if you follow this procedure: http://katsadventures.com/#plx_progress_faq_section


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You also confirm that you will be responsible for your own insurance, so please make sure that it is at an appropriate level for this trip and the activities that you will be participating in. In addition to your own Personal Civil liability insurance, you will need an individual insurance for multi-risk and multi-activity holidays (expenses of cancellation, research – help, repatriation, medical expenses, theft of luggage, etc.) appropriate for the activities to be undertaken as part of the holiday. The general travel insurance is often minimal and rarely adapted to the active holidays. Please check the details with your insurance provider.


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