If you go down to the woods today, you might just catch the last of the beautiful Bluebells on the Banstead Woods Walk or a Narnia surprise or two.
We love discovering new walks to do with the dogs in and around London, as you never know what you may find – like the time we found a giant sandpit in Oxshott Woods.
So in today’s post, we’ll share with you what we found on our Banstead Woods Walk as well as all the info you need to know if you fancy trying it out too.
Note: I have included a ‘Coronavirus Caution’ section at the end of this post to call out specific things to bear in mind during the period of Coronavirus restrictions.
Banstead Woods Introduction
Banstead is a picturesque village on the borders of South London and Surrey. It’s also home to the famous Mayfield Lavender Farm which you can read about in our dog-friendly Mayfield Lavender Farm feature. However this time, our visit was to explore Banstead Woods and see what that had to offer from a human and hound perspective.
The Banstead Woods Walk & Narnia Trail
The Banstead Woods Walk (or the Banstead Woods Nature Trail) is about 3 miles / 5km long with some hilly areas but nothing too extreme and good paths throughout. It will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to walk around but longer if you stop for photos so bear that in mind.
There is also the longer (5.5 miles) Banstead Countryside Walk, but we didn’t attempt that – I’ve included a link to the information sheet on this below if you’d like more info on this.
To get onto the Banstead Woods walk, head through the gates from Holly Lane Car Park and up the hill. Once you see a giant Lion wood carving (yes this is Aslan from the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe), this is the start of the walk.
In fact, Banstead Woods is known for it’s unique Narnia Trail which is great if you have kids too. You can spot Aslan as mentioned above, a life-size wardrobe complete with wooden hanging clothes to step through and Lucy Pevensey waiting by the lampost.
Bluebells in Banstead Woods
In Bluebell season, Banstead Woods are carpeted in beautiful Bluebells, especially in the old Orchard area. As you walk along the Banstead Woods Walk, you do see pockets of bluebells throughout the woods, but it’s when you get to the Orchard area that there are blankets of Bluebells to enjoy.
The Bluebells are out from mid-April to May with the duration varying each year due to the weather. Based on our visit to Banstead Woods last weekend, we would say they are coming to the end of their season so you would need to be quick if you want to catch them this year.
Banstead Woods Walk Tips
Dogs can go off lead, but there are areas where livestock may be grazing at the start of the walk, so please keep your dog on a lead near those.
There aren’t any poo bins after the start of the walk, so it’s worth letting your dog have some time at the beginning of the walk to get that out of the way else you’ll be carrying it for quite some time!
Also, there aren’t any signposts on the walk itself, so we did think at one point we had missed finding the Bluebells in the Orchard. Having now found them, a tip is to look for the Park Lane Campsite on Google Maps on your phone, and then once you reach that, the Orchard is down a path to the left of the Campsite (when you are facing the Campsite).
If you don’t fancy doing the whole walk to get to the Orchard, there is a turning right shortly after you pass Aslan (lookout for Marker 2 and a Maple sign. This will take you down to the Orchard within about 10 minutes, passing the Narnia wardrobe on the way.
Our final tip is to make sure to bring some water for both people and pups, you’ll need it!
We thoroughly enjoyed our Banstead Woods Walk and catching the Bluebells in bloom was a real treat. And if you’re a South London Dog, we would definitely recommend putting Banstead Woods on your walk list.
Dog-friendly Places Nearby
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly pitstop after the walk, the inviting Ramblers Rest is just 2 minutes drive or a 15-minute walk away, and dogs are very welcome! Obviously, we weren’t able to try this ourselves as all pubs are closed due to Coronavirus, but we look forward to visiting once things get back to normal.
How to Get to Banstead Woods By Car
Use Holly Lane Car Park (Chipstead) for your sat nav or the postcode CR5 3NR. The car park is just off the main road so you can’t miss it.
How to Get to Banstead Woods By Public Transport
Getting to Banstead Woods by public transport takes just under 50 minutes directly from London Victoria to Chipstead Station which is about 500m from Holly Lane Car Park.
1. Please do not take public transport to the walk featured in this post during the Coronavirus pandemic. Only visit if you can get there by car. Any public transport information included in this post is for future reference.
2. Likewise, any dog-friendly recommendations in this post are for future reference.
3. Holly Lane Car Park is currently open at the time of publishing this post but do check online for the latest information before travelling.
4. You should social distance staying at least 2m away from other walkers. The paths on the Banstead Woods Walk are generally wide, so this is not a problem. On the narrower paths, you can move off the path to allow others to pass if need be.
6. There are a few gates on the walk so bring hand sanitiser to use after touching them.