Godstone to Holmethorpe Sand Pits, Surrey ... 7th June 2010

My wife's car needed a couple of jobs done, so I dropped it off at our usual garage, D. D. Services at Godstone (highly recommended - a plug for you Dave and Dave) at 8.30 a.m.
I could have got the bus back for part of the way home but decided to walk the 6 miles or so and see what was about.

At Godstone village green, a pair of Egyptian Geese had four goslings and across the road, behind the White Hart pub/restaurant, lies Bay Pond. Managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust, this pond has suffered from pollution from agricultural run-off in the past and is now recovering.
It does not seem to hold much in the way of wildfowl but did have a Bittern there for a few days early in the year. Unfortunately, news of this bird was suppressed, so few birders got to see it.

The pond at Godstone village green

Today, Bay Pond held a pair of nesting Great Crested Grebes and two Cormorants and a group of mixed-up Mallards, but not much else.

Bay Pond at Godstone

Walking back to the White Hart pub, a good number of Feral Pigeons were on the roof of one of the buildings.
The White Hart, which dates from the early 16th century, is said to have a highwayman that haunts the old coaching inn, and Queen Victoria is said to have stayed there on her way to Brighton. Underground tunnels run from the White Hart to the nearby Bell Inn.

The White Hart at Godstone

Time to leave Godstone and head home along the footpath by the A25. The only bird noted was a Kestrel that flew low over the road at Bletchingley.
Bletchingley is a pretty village with a pub/restaurant also called The Whyte Harte Hotel (different spelling). This dates back to 1388 is said to be one of the few surviving Medieval inns in Britain.

The Whyte Harte Hotel at Bletchingley


A short break on a bench for a bar of chocolate and a cold drink before heading on. I turned off the main road and headed down the lanes, where there are good views of the North Downs, before heading back, under the M23, and onto my local patch at Holmethorpe Sand Pits.
By now, my legs were telling me that I had walked far enough, so I rested a while at the M23 end of Mercers Farm and was serenaded by a couple of Skylarks in song-flight.

The view from the eastern end of Mercers Farm looking towards
Reigate Hill in the distance. It looks tranquil, but the M23 is just yards
away behind me.

At Spynes Mere, a Little Owl was perched on an oak and a few Common Whitethroats were singing their scratchy songs. A Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, one Reed Warbler and a couple of Chiffchaffs were also singing, and a female Shelduck flew over, heading for where she had left her young at the pit.
As in previous years, when they have occasionally bred, it seems that the adults are prepared to leave their young unattended for long periods, making them vulnerable to predation.
I walked the north path of Mercers Lake, just noting a few noisy Ring-necked Parakeets before heading home.
On arriving home, a Jackdaw was perched outside my kitchen window, on a nearby roof.

Thankfully, it didn't rain this morning but the forecast for the rest of week is not so good and I have the return walk to make to collect the car, when the repairs are completed (or maybe I'll just get the bus!).



  1. A very pleasant stroll to stretch the muscles Graham but if continues to rain you may need something with floats on it for the return journey!

  2. Have already done the walk to collect the car today (Tuesday), Frank and, yes, took an absolute soaking!
    The things we do for our other halves!!!!