Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 4 Jan – Bookham to Gatton Park loop

Posted by Matt | January 5, 2009 | 6 comments so far

Bockett's Farm on a frosty Sunday morning
I can’t claim any originality for this ride. Colin mapped it a few weeks back with the Diary of a Mountain Biker crew and reckoned it was worth repeating, so much so that we took him up on his offer.

The original plan was to rendezvous with the repeat DoMTB ride but they eventually started too late for us and from Ashtead too which meant by the time they reached a suitable meeting point I’d be running out of man–points rather too quickly in the year for my wife’s liking. A shame really as I’d have liked to meet up with Rich and the guys.

Instead, Jem, Jez, Tony, Lee, Toby and myself struck out on our own from Bookham at 8:30, hauling ourselves up Alsation and past Headley Cricket Ground to pick up sections of the North Downs Way to Reigate and then on to Gatton. It’s a great little route, all short, sharp climbs and fizzy descents interspersed with some good cross country riding. There isn’t anywhere in the route where you really get a chance to relax but for all that it’s not a massive physical challenge.

We were helped by the weather which produced what (I’ll go out on a limb to claim) is likely to be one of the best riding days of the year, winter or summer. No rain for weeks and frozen, hard, dry trails crackling with frost which gave up a grippy, high speed surface. Added to which the seasonal lack of vegetation meant you could ride the downhills with a good view of what was up ahead.

Once up on the downs we had a great view south toward the Weald and the South Downs, crisp, clear and sunny before it all closed in later in the morning. After flying down Colley Hill (which was much more sanitized than I remember), Gatton Park was a new one for us and we skirted it before climbing up to the Tea Room at the top of Wray Lane. It certainly looks worth a bit more exploring although I’m not sure if it will offer up any decent singletrack. Maybe a local can tell us?

The tea was very very welcome and is a new rest stop for us to add to our Cake pages in due course. I was kicking myself that none of us had a camera, Rich at DoMTB seems pretty disciplined in carrying (and using) his and it pays off. He’s posted some pics of their later ride on his ride report so take a look to see where we were riding.

All in all a very enjoyable ride and one we’ll likely repeat. Having ridden that way to work many times my only caveat is that the trails can get pretty sticky at times so you want dry conditions. Or frozen, of course! You can see some of my old commuter pics on Flickr which show bits of the route.

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 6 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 4 Jan – Bookham to Gatton Park loop’

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  1. Muddyfox says:

    Thanks for the props Matt and agree with you about the weather, trail conditions et al.

    The trick to using the camera is to keep it inside the case but attached to the chest strap of your camelbak. It’s right in front of you and ready to use at a moments notice.

    Much easier than stopping, taking off camelbak, rooting around in pack for a minute to find camera and then take it out of its case. The moment has gone then!

    I also use a couple of those climbing things (forget the name but blue one most visible in this pic [carabiners? – Matt]) to secure the strap so that I don’t lose the camera but can take it off the strap if required.

  2. Rob says:

    Hi Matt

    The start of the climb up to the Tea Hut is the point at which you can take a different route.

    You can cross the road and climb up a flinty track, underneath the M25 up on to Babylon Lane. This takes you onto a route which we like to call The Rabbit! It goes over towards Chipstead, Kingswood and Banstead.

    Another alternative is to head into Redhill from Gatton Park to get on the trails which head over towards Nutfield, Godstone and Bletchingly. All decent trails with some techy stuff and decent climbing.

    I am planning a ride next month over that way so keep your eyes peeled on the “ride diary”. You are all most welcome.

  3. Matt says:

    I’ve just editted my text after Dave pointed out that ‘lack of seasonal vegetation’ should read ‘seasonal lack of vegetation’, a small but important point.

    Mind you, imagine my panic when I first read his email and thought he was telling me I’d typed lack of seasoned vagination…!!

  4. Lee says:

    Can we please not talk about a lack of vagination at the moment, seasoned or otherwise!

  5. Colin says:


    Best keep me away from them things at the moment – 4 kids is quite enough thank you.

  6. Jem says:

    Nothing like a bunch of tw*t’s in the woods!!

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