Walk like a Roman along Stane Street

Walk like a Roman along Stane Street.  One of our favourite walks is along the Roman Stane street.  Leave the car at home and let the train take the strain our route goes from Ewell to Box Hill, we start at Ewell East station and then catch a train back from Box Hill and Westhumble.

Stane Street marker post

Walk Stane Street

Walks that follow ancient pathways are my favourite kind of walk.  For getting on for a thousand years people have walked along Stane Street and I love imagining those that have gone before me. Click here for a downloadable version of our route starting at Ewell East station, if your train out of London gets you Ewell West don’t worry the two are not far apart. 

Stane Street did pass through Ewell but initially you will not be following the original route as it passes through private property.  You start off by walking across Priest Hill, reputed to be the largest field in the Domesday Book.  From there you follow paths to the outskirts of Epsom before heading up a path known as Rifle Butts Alley .  It was here that the 8th Corps of the Surrey Rifle Volunteers billeted in during the Napoleonic wars did their target practice. Once at the top of Rifle Butts Alley you walk past Epsom racecourse home to the Derby.  

Once past the Langley Vale Centenary Wood you join Stane Street itself.  This section of the road from Thirty Acres Barn to Mickleham Downs is a scheduled monument.  Don’t worry you won’t come across any traffic as the path is now a bridlepath.  Although you are heading toward Box Hill one of the highest points in Surrey you don’t come across any really steep climbs as the Roman’s were canny builders and largely followed the contours on this section of Stane Street.  When you arrive at the base of Box Hill if you have the time and energy climb to top for excellent views, we usually head straight for the train station and home!

Where to Eat along Stane Street

We usually take a picnic and stop to sit on a tree stump along the way.  By Epsom Downs Racecourse there are two pubs that do good food, the Derby Arms and the Rubbing House .  At the end of the walk Ryka’s Cafe, which is very popular among the motorbike community does an excellent bacon sandwich, the Drift Bridge is altogether more formal, definitely the kind of place to dress up for.  The Stepping Stones pub just before the station does good food and is walker friendly.  Cyclists and walkers alike are welcome at Pilgrim Cycles cafe actually at the station.

Stane Street History

Back in Roman times Stane Street was the route from Londinium to Noviomagus Reginorum or London to Chichester.  For 57 miles it follows a more or less straight line between the two cities.  The Romans loved a straight line but were pragmatic, the direct route would have taken them across the North Downs, Greensand Ridge and South Downs, by following contours and making the most of the Mole gap at Dorking steep climbs were avoided.  Even so Stane Street is never more than six miles away from the straight line between Chichester and London. 

How to get to Ewell

First things first, Ewell East is a zone 6 station so on the Oyster network.  Boxhill and Westhumble is not so you will need to buy a ticket.  Trains leave London for Ewell East from London Bridge and Victoria stations.  If Waterloo is more convenient for you then either change at Clapham Junction or walk across from Ewell West station.  From the opposite direction trains can be caught from Guildford, Dorking and Horsham.  Trains from Boxhill and Westhumble can be caught to Victoria or Waterloo, change at Epsom for London Bridge.  There is a carpark at Ewell East station.

For other Surrey walks check out my posts about Langley Vale Centenary Wood, a walk through Lavender fields and follow in Charle Darwin’s footstep at Leith Hill Place.

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