Please park responsibly and if the area is busy on your arrival, please help us keep everyone safe by coming back another time.
Total steps: 14
Total steps: 14
Wray Lane car park, Reigate Hill, grid ref: TQ262523 Please note: this is not a waymarked route.
From Wray Lane car park, walk west along the North Downs Way, crossing over the footbridge, which was refurbished in 2011.
Reigate Hill footbridge was designed in 1908 and completed in 1910 by L G Mouchel and Partners, using the French Mouchel Hennebique system of reinforced concrete. The single-span segmental arched bridge covers a 97ft (30m) span with width of 8ft (2.5m) and weight of 3 tonnes. Above the arch is a cast iron pierced balustrade with larger principals and ball finials.
Continue to follow the North Downs Way. On your left, you'll pass the entrance to Reigate Fort.
Reigate Fort was built in 1898, as part of a 72-mile (115km) defence line to protect London while a huge ship-building programme was initiated by the British Government. The southern line was divided into 10 sectors and the fort fell into 'Redhill Position', which was 7 miles (11km) long. The fort held vital tools and ammunition to supply soldiers and artillery at short notice.
The open area of mowed grass to your left is where a US Flying Fortress crashed into Reigate Hill on 19 March 1945.
US Second World War plane crash
On 19 March 1945, aircraft from US 384th Bomber Group, stationed at 1O6 Grafton-Underwood in Northamptonshire, were returning from a bombing raid on Plauen, near the Czech border. The planes usually flew in formation, for protection from enemy fighters, but because of the dense cloud (solid at 800ft/244m) the planes split up. There was less cloud at 300ft (91m) and flying too low, the Flying Fortress 43-39035 SO-F sadly crashed into Reigate Hill at 1740 hours.
As you pass through the wooden gate, you'll see the Inglis Memorial to your left. This is the first opportunity to experience the spectacular views towards Box Hill and Leith Hill in the West, and the South Downs in the South. Continue to follow the North Downs Way along the top of the hill. Keep an eye out for the Belted Galloway cattle that help us to manage the chalk downland by grazing the unwanted scrub.
The Inglis Memorial was donated to the Borough of Reigate in 1909, by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Robert William Inglis VC. It was built as a drinking fountain for horses on the original main route over Reigate Hill. Stop to look at the viewpoint indicator – what can you see?
Pass through the wooden gate and continue to follow the North Downs Way until you come to a T-junction with three metal posts. Turn left onto the tarmac track and continue to follow the North Downs Way.
As you walk along the track, you'll see a large white cast-iron post to your left. This is a Coal Tax post. Pass through the metal posts and head downhill, continuing along the North Downs Way. Caution: steep descent.
Coal Tax post
Since medieval times, coal imported into the City of London has been taxed. In 1861, the London Coal And Wine Duties Continuance Act was passed and Coal Tax posts were erected to mark the boundary within which the tax was payable. These posts have a raised shield with the City of London's coat of arms and raised lettering referring to the Act under which it was erected.
You’ll reach a crossroads, marked by a fingerpost. Turn left here and follow the path – now fairly flat – along the bottom of the Downs through yew woodland. Ignore footpaths to your right and left.
You’ll come to a yellow waymarker post for the North Downs Ridge walk. Follow the arrow and go down the steps. You’ll see how the chalk and stone have been carved out in mining activity, now overgrown with beech trees. Continue along the path, following the yellow marker posts.
At the crossroads, continue straight following the yellow signs for the North Downs Ridge Walk.
The pit on the right-hand side is the Reigate hearthstone mine and used to be an entrance here to one of the many mines in Reigate Hill. The mines were dug to extract hearthstone. This was processed outside the mine entrance into small blocks, similar in size to a bar of soap. The stone was used to whiten the front door steps of people's homes.
At the 'y' junction, take the left fork and continue to follow the yellow arrows keeping the ridge and woodland to your left.
You'll see a National Trust Omega sign for the Pilgrims Way to your right. Pass this sign and emerge onto Underhill Park Road. Follow the tarmac road ahead. Caution: watch out for vehicles. Please put dogs on leads.
As the road bends to the right, bear left uphill, immediately after, follow the blue arrow for the Millennium trail by taking a sharp left to continue up the unsurfaced Reigate Hill path marked by two small metal posts. Caution: steep, uneven ascent.
Halfway up the hill, you'll see the Simpson Memorial and a bench just off the path on the left. Here you can stop for a rest and take in the views looking towards Box Hill and Leith Hill. The lowland in the centre and far distances is known as The Weald; Old English for 'wood' which once covered this whole area. To the west, look out for Gatwick airport, and to the south, cast your eye to the horizon for a glimpse of the South Downs.
The Simpson Memorial
The Simpson Memorial on Colley Hill is dedicated to Captain George Simpson, of 5th Battalion, Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment, who died in 1909, aged 26, after a short illness. This area of the hill (about 1.2 hectares, 3 acres) was donated to the Corporation of Reigate by his mother.
Pass through the gate and immediately turn right up the stone steps. At the top, you'll find yourself back at the Inglis Memorial. Turn right to continue east along the North Downs Way back to Wray Lane car park.
Wray Lane car park, Reigate Hill, grid ref: TQ262523
Most of the walk is on good quality, fairly level, surfaced paths. The route has a steep descent (good quality, surfaced path) and ascent on a natural chalk path. The route is not suitable for pushchairs as there are steps on part of the trail.
Wray Lane car park, Reigate Hill
Reigate station, 1 mile (1.6km).
Comprehensive network of rights of way, including the North Downs National Trail.
Metro Bus 460, Redhill to Epsom, daily except Sunday, alight Reigate Hill. Metro Bus 420, Redhill to Sutton, Monday to Saturday, alight Reigate Hill.
Exit M25 at J8 and take A217 south. Within 0.25 miles the road forks; take the left fork, turn right and immediately left into Wray Lane car park.
Dogs are welcome, please keep them on leads when livestock are grazing.
Located at the Wray Lane car park. Open 9am–5pm.
The route has a steep descent (good quality, surfaced path) and ascent on a natural chalk path.
Enjoy a walk through woodland, heathland and onto Colley Hill with a well-earned stop at the pub on the way. Fairly flat ground, can be muddy in places.
Relax in a landscaped park designed by ‘Capability’ Brown, challenge yourself with walks along the North Downs or visit places of historical interest, like Reigate Fort.
Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.
The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.