Back to the Surrey Hills

Finally after too many years away from Leith Hill and Holmbury Hill I've convinced some work colleagues to join me on one of my favourite mountain bike routes in the South East. The weather forecasts leading up to today had not been particularly favourable, but a hard frost overnight and clear skies in the morning looked promising.

Start
Start
Rory and Daniel setting up at the start.
20 Feb 2010

Arriving at the National Trust car park just off the A25 near Gomshall and the weather wasn't disappointing. It was shaping up to be a great day! Rory, Daniel and myself we ready by 10am. Phil was starting at Leith Hill at the same time as the rest of us and was planning on cycling the same route with the aim to of catching us up. I phoned Phil just before we departed and confirmed we were both underway!

Up Towards Holmbury Hill
Up Towards Holmbury Hill
Daniel and Rory heading up the steep hill towards Sutton Abinger. The Hills of the North Downs in the background.
20 Feb 2010

Considering how many years had lapsed since I last cycled this route, all the memories slowly came back to me. There was no need to consult my pre-prepared map. Rory and Daniel did an excellent job on the first series of ascents, Daniel especially considering that he hasn't really cycled for some years now.

Holmbury Hill Ascent
Holmbury Hill Ascent
Rory and Daniel heading towards the summit of Holmbury Hill along some fantastic single track.
20 Feb 2010

After crossing the A25 the first climb revealed itself. Eventually we emerged in Sutton Abinger. I did point out the Pub (the Volunteer?), but we quickly concluded it was too early for that and pressed on towards Holmbury Hill.

Holmbury Hill Views
Holmbury Hill Views
Looking South West from the Holmbury Hill summit. Pitch Hill is just in shot and on the horizon Black Down near Haslemere can be seen.
20 Feb 2010

After some interesting riding we arrived at the Holmbury Hill summit. This was an opportunity to take some photos, drink some fluids and check out the Widow Maker (the very steep descent down the face of Holmbury Hill). The Widow Maker was not particularly suitable for mountain bikes now (it probably wasn't in my younger days either) so we opted for the alternative route down the hill.

The Climb to Leith Hill
The Climb to Leith Hill
Daniel sensibly admitting defeat climbing towards Leith Hill.
20 Feb 2010

After passing some horses, almost having a high-speed collision with a cyclist on the wrong side of the road not looking where they were going, we re-grouped and descended the bridleway towards Leith Hill. This was the first proper high speed downhill and I think I heard Rory or Daniel shrieking behind me with excitement (well, I hope that's what it was!).

We then started our climb towards Leith Hill. Passing through Upholds Farm I was expecting a very muddy climb. However, recent renovations had resulted in a fantastic well drained bridleway. This made the following ascent that much bearable.

Team Reunited
Team Reunited
Phil and Millie (the dog) amaze us by completing 2/3 of the route to catch us up, joining us just before we reach the Leith Hill summit.
20 Feb 2010

After some considerable climbing we arrived at the car park just below Leith Hill tower. It was at that point I looked down the hill with disbelief and saw Phil heading towards us with his dog! From there we all headed up to Leith Hill tower together where we purchased refreshments and continued on towards Coldhabour.

Leith Hill Tower
Leith Hill Tower
Phil and Rory at the Leith Hill tower! How lucky were we with the weather?
20 Feb 2010

At Coldharbour we re-hydrated with a pint from the Plough and said goodbye to Phil and Millie. We were now due our reward for all the previous hill climbing and set off on a well deserved down hill.

Eventually we arrived at the A25, crossed over and headed back to the start. All in all a very enjoyable 4 hours of riding in some of Surrey's best countryside!

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