Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 11 January – Bookham to Epsom Downs loop

Posted by Matt | January 11, 2009 | 12 comments so far

Dave climbing Juniper Top
Another day, another hard frost overnight—although not as hard as the previous day which saw hoar frost riming the trees all day—meant another fast ride in near summer conditions of grip.

I was in my element. Nine of us set out from Bocketts Farm (if you will then, Dave, Jem, Jez, Lee, Tony, Andy, Toby, Chris and myself) for an early meeting with Alsation, this time as a gruelling climb rather than Wednesday’s quick decent. Not much fun and I didn’t see many of us smiling as we slogged up. But the weather was cold and the ground frozen which was something at least.

Tony’s wife saw deer on the same bit of track the day before as you can see in the photo, we were far to busy keeping our breakfasts down! But after Alsation things improved as we headed past the golf course and over to Epsom Downs, via the fast and rocky doubletrack from the pub at Headley. I should know its name but my mind is blank I’m afraid.

Deer at Cherkley Court near Leatherhead

After that we took the super fast singletrack all the way to the back end of Epsom racecourse where we split with Jez. His house is not far away and he had ridden over to Bookham after all so we’ll let him have that one! As if he needs the exercise.

The singletrack may prove to be the first place for me to rediscover my mojo after my accident in the summer, although with leading up nine riders I may have just been scared into going quick to avoid holding people up! All the same, I was quick all the way down what must be a mile of fast, flinty, rocky gulleys, even managing to jink quickly through an S-bend that brought my dodgy shoulder scarily close to an outcropping tree.

I wasn’t exactly in control all the way down the trail but I was quick all the same, even having time to notice the sweat on my face at the bottom of the trail while I waited for the others to catch up. Not bad when the weather is so cold.

From there we worked our way back to Stane Street and onward with the intention of making Box Hill. And work it certainly was with lots of short sharp climbs which I will gladly forego when the thaw sets in. Holmbury is on my list of preferences for next week with Newlands Corner the week after!

On the way we picked up another cracking piece of singletrack which starts halfway down the decent off Mickleham and spits you out at the bottom of Chainbreaker. A dodgy off camber trail all the way, it really is a test of nerve not to ‘Look to your right, Sam’* as your bike wants to follow the incessant urgings of gravity. At the end of it is a technical steppy S-bend round a stout fallen beech tree that managed to catch one of us out today (thankfully not me!).

After that we slogged our way up Juniper Top, still snow covered despite the quickly warming temperatures and with lots of runners and walkers (and a few sledgers). I think at this point sheer bloody-mindedness was setting in as we had our sights set firmly on the tea room at Box Hill.

Fueled by date slice and tea it was a straight-forward (but tired) tramp home via Norbury Park to register another great ride. Thanks for everyone’s good humour and company as some of us made it up as we went along but I reckon it turned out fine in the end!

* A quote from Frasier Crane to Sam in Cheers. Always amuses me and my brother…

Filed under Rides in January 2009


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 12 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 11 January – Bookham to Epsom Downs loop’

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  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for an enjoyable ride today guys. It was good to meet you all and I’ll definitely be out again with you soon.

  2. Lee says:

    I really enjoyed yesterday’s ride, if only, with hindsight, for the fact that it may have been our last for a while on hard-packed trails. Looks like Mr Gloop is now moving in for a couple of weeks.

    There was a downside though. The sad (and expensive) realisation that I’m in desperate need of new parts for most of my drivechain. Should just about be OK to creek, skip and clank through Wednesday’s ride though.

  3. Richard says:

    The cracking piece of singletrack is what we call the ‘Alpine trail’ (because it is the only trail in Surrey that approaches something you might ride in the Alps)

  4. Richard says:

    Rider bailing out

    And here’s Cas trying to stop before the fallen tree at the bottom

  5. Richard says:

    and why don’t my picture links ever work?

  6. Matt says:

    Rich, you’re using BB code used to markup up text in forums ([url][/url] etc.) which this blog isn’t set up to handle.

    So you have to resort to good old fashioned HTML for links and images…

    I can normally spot when someone’s tried to do something like that and edit as necessary.

  7. John says:

    I don’t know what any of that means, but I’m very impressed!

  8. Russell says:

    Nice site guys. It looks like you have a great knowledge of the area and I wondered whether you’d thought about linking a map or GPS download of your various routes?

    As someone still exploring the area I’d find it really useful to view where you’ve been riding.

  9. Matt says:

    Russell, we’ve debated in the past about putting GPS maps on the site without coming to a satisfactory answer. Not so much ourselves, but other riders can be a bit ‘protective’ about their local knowledge, which is fair enough.

    Having said that, we haven’t that many routes in the GPS anyway as we’re familiar enough with them. We’re always happy to welcome new riders so if you want to come along and map stuff yourself please do.

    Check out though. There’s a handful of routes round Holmbury from Colin (beanarillo) but again, a local guide always helps.

    Hope that helps etc.

  10. Colin says:

    There’s a couple there from me but you can’t find them by username which is pants – bikely needs alot more thought put into it.

    Try this or this

    As I’m into the habit of doing this now, I’ll speak nicely to our webmeister Matt to see about hosting routes on here.

    Hope you can join a ride soon.


  11. Richard says:

    oh, okay, what like this?

  12. Andy C says:

    Hi Guys – I enjoyed the ride and the company so much I intend to be joining you again this Sunday in Holmbury.



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