GS2 at Coldharbour

Dorking Running Day

Sunday August 29th 2004

Prepared by Ian Smith, 12th September 2004

Part Three: The Ewhurst Loop

GS1: Dorking to Ewhurst, 449

Back at Dorking the sun was coming out. I watched RF600 arrive on the 425 from Guildford - one of this year's "new" routes, following the demise of Surrey's contracted Sunday service 32, operated by Memory Lane, back in January. Down in the bus park RF633 was ready for a turn round the 439.

RF600 arrives on 425 RF633 at Dorking

RM9 had arrived from New Cross with this year's 70D commercial service. RML2456 motored past to operate a 414 short to Capel

RF600 arrives on 425 RF633 at Dorking

GS1: Dorking to Ewhurst, 449

GS13 came in off the 433, after a complete trip round the 433, to Coldharbour and then through Dorking to Ranmore Common, and back to Dorking. It was my cue to find John Huxford and GS1 for the 1210 trip on the 449. This was to be followed by a 448 trip to Shere, and a 425 run back to Dorking. GS76 was going the other way round the loop at the same time, to meet at Ewhurst.

GS13 arrives on 433 GS1 and GS13 at Dorking

John drove GS1 out to the stop. I was quite surprised that we absorbed the queue. We set off to the roundabout, turned right and climbed up the long green cutting over Chart Downs. At the end of the wooded summit cutting John pulled left off the main road onto the back road to Blackbrook, and on through the woods of Holmwood Common to Four Wents Pond.

GS1 climbs over Chart Downs GS1 crosses Holmwood Common

There we turned right, across the wooded common to meet the main road opposite South Holmwood. John headed south down the A24, and I was quite relieved when he ignored the old route past the station, thereby avoiding two potentially hazardous crossings of the dual carriageway. But at Beare Green he took the second exit, straight on along the old road to Capel. There we pulled up at the bus shelter for a photo stop.

GS1 at Capel on 449 GS1 at Capel on 449

After the throng had been gathered aboard again we continued. No longer can the bus turn right at Capel for Ockley. Instead we had to continue ahead to the large roundabout, and head back north on the A24 to find the narrow left turn. We passed under the 13ft 3in railway bridge at Ockley Station (no RTs on this section of the 449!). We went on, past Ockley Court to meet the A29 at the north end of Ockley Village. A few yards south we turned hard right onto the B2126 to Forest Green, missing out most of Ockley village. We twisted along the green tunnel of the minor road, and just missed Forest Green too, crossing its northern extremity onto the B2127 to Ewhurst.

Ockley Station Bridge near Forest Green

John pulled up on the green common just beyond the junction, for another photo-stop. Many of the passengers alighted to get the "middle of nowhere" picture. Some discovered the evil slit-ditch hidden in the long grass on each side of the road!

GS1 at Forest Green on 449 GS1 at Forest Green on 449

Then we were off again, along to reach the northern edge of Ewhurst. Once again the route fails to reach most of the village. Perhaps in the forties and fifties people were expected to walk half a mile or so to catch the bus!

Anyway, we arrived, and John pulled round the terminal loop to park behind GS76, which had arrived on the 448.

We had a few minutes to spare, so John rolled up an 852 blind onto the front of GS1. Then he installed an original Guildford GS blind onto the rollers, and looked for a suitable blind for our short-working on the 448. First he tried Gomshall (Tower Hill), then found Gomshall (Queen Street).

852 blinds 448 to Gomshall (Tower Hill)

GS1: Ewhurst to Shere, 448

Then it was time for departures. GS76 pulled away towards Dorking on the 449 route, and John turned left (north) on the 448.

GS1 and GS76 at Ewhurst GS76 departs on 449

Soon we forked right on the lane to Peaslake, through the deep narrow valley in Hurt Wood.

448 to Gomshall (Queen Street) Entering Peaslake

Peaslake appeared, and we approached the war memorial and bus shelter. This had been appropriated by a large group of cyclists, so John circled round and reparked alongside the war memorial.

GS1 in Peaslake GS1 in Peaslake

We went on down the valley - and slightly overshot the turn into the narrow lane to Gomshall. It doesn't look bus-able! John reversed a few metres, and we took the narrow lane, soon coming down to the level crossing over the Redhill-Guildford line. Once upon a time this was the stamping ground of Southern Region Ns and Western 43xxs on the Reading trains, and later the Tadpole diesel-electrics. But there was nothing in sight today, not even a Thames Trains DMU on a Reading-Gatwick service.

We crossed the Tilling Bourne on the 7.5ton limitted bridge, and turned left along the A25 to Shere, where we were supposed to meet a 425 to Guildford. John drove past Shere on the main road, then turned back through the quaint village, with its plethora of old buildings. No sign of the RF.

John continued to the rickety footbridge, and paused for a photo. But well-laid plans gang aglay. An ambulance came tearing up behind, so I waved John on, and hot-footed it down the road in pursuit. He had found a place to let the trailing cars and ambulance pass, and I gratefully reboarded.

GS1 in Shere GS1 in Shere

GS1: Shere to Dorking, 425

John continued through the rest of the village, and pulled up under a tree. The only 425 blind on the original roll was for a school-run from Guildford to Chilworth Station, so perforce that had to be used for the run to Dorking.

Once we were sure that the connection must have gone we set off eastwards along the A25, back through Gomshall and on through Abinger Hammer. At Wotton Hatch we passed RF633 on the 412 to Holmbury St Mary.

GS1 on 425 RF633 at Wotton Hatch on 412

GS1 pressed on through Westcott, passing the thatched bus-shelter and thatched dovecot. What was that comment from the back seats about "just one cigarette"?

It wasn't far on to Dorking, and we pulled in to Pippbrook just as RMC1476 was loading on a local 449 town service working to Chart Down Estate.

Westcott: thatched bus shelter RMC1476 on 449 town service

Part Four: to Parkgate and South Holmwood

All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2 Part 4: RT3148 on the 429