Section 5 of the Loop was from Hamsey Green to Coulsdon South. Section 6 finished in Banstead Downs. These were the final two sections for my London Loop walking companion. I had three more sections to go: 1, 2, and 9, which she had done independently.
When we passed through Happy Valley, we looked in vain for one of Britain’s rarest plants: the greater yellow rattle. When the plant is ready to seed it dries out and rattles.
In section 6, we passed through Mayfield Lavender fields. I had previously been to the farm and seen the footpath and had wondered if people could cross the farm without paying the entrance fee. I now had the answer: you could since it was a public footpath. It was too late to see the lavender but all the wooden benches we tried to sit on had lots of ladybirds (ladybugs) and Asian lady beetles. We sat on the floor to avoid crushing them.
We also went through Oaks Park. The Ramblers guide said it was at this park that “Lord Derby and Lord Bunbury tossed a coin for who would name the new classic race to be run on Epsom Downs. If it had gone the other way we would now have the Epsom Bunbury!” (It was named the Epson Derby.)
When we exited the Banstead Downs SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), we emerged onto a golf course and met several golfers. They were friendly. Occasionally, golfers resent us hikers passing through their golf courses even though there’s a public footpath. These were patient as we crossed the route to one of their holes. One even asked us if we knew the way out, which wasn’t obvious. Eventually, we did exit.
Curiously, we passed Banstead station several times before we realised it was a station. There was no obvious signage for the station. It almost looked like a posh public toilet!