23rd Founders' Challenge, Saturday 5th October 2019

Welcome to the 23rd Founders’ Challenge walk

Saturday 5th October 2019 - 30 and 19 mile options

There will be 2 new routes of 30 and 19 miles: for the first time the event will start and finish in Guildford.

In 2019 the walk will be in an anti-clockwise direction, the reverse of how it has been, so perhaps it will seem completely different!

Organised every year since 1997, this will be the 23rd occasion on which we remember the founders of the LDWA. This event provides a unique opportunity to visit places associated with the founders of the LDWA: the old Post Office in Peaslake where in 1966 Chris Steer, Alan and Barbara Blatchford first made contact with each other, Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel where the first meeting took place in 1973, Pitch Hill with its toposcope about the LDWA, Steers Field and Blatchford Down where the National Trust honours our founders.

The event is mostly off-road, on good footpaths and tracks. It takes place in the Surrey Hills, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958. The routes offer a wonderful mixture of autumnal forest and downland; a significant proportion of participants’ fees will be donated to local countryside charities.

Together with the welcome provided at checkpoints and fine food at the finish, these elements combine to make the Founders Challenge a memorable event.


For 2019 there are two new routes.

  • a. The 30 mile (48km) route for walkers and runners has approximately 3,018 feet (920m) of ascent.
  • b. A shorter route for walkers only of approximately 19 miles (30km) with 1,454 feet (445m) of ascent.

Please note that there are some steep descents which can be slippery in wet weather.



Entrants are expected to download and carry one or both formats; route descriptions will not be provided at the start.

The current route descriptions and GPX files are available below:

30m Founders route description

30m Founders route gpx

19m Founders route description

19m Founders route gpx


VENUE                Guildford: St. Catherine’s Village Hall

Chestnut Avenue, Guildford GU2 4HF (GR SU991484)

  • 1 mile from Guildford train station via Portsmouth Road or, quieter, along River Wey and up Ferry Lane.
  • ¾ mile from the Artington Park and Ride car park, Old Portsmouth Rd, Guildford GU3 1LP either on foot or by bus #200; £2.20 return (£1 with bus or Freedom Pass.)


Check train times when 2019 summer timetables (which take effect on 19th May) are published.

Currently (March 2019) the 0645 departure from London Waterloo [Clapham Junction dep. 0652] arrives Guildford 0723; the 0715 departure arrives at 0752 and subsequently a fast service runs every 15 minutes.

THERE IS NO PARKING AT THE START VENUE. Please use Artington Park and Ride.


Rooms are available at Travelodges in Guildford (a short walk from Guildford station) (www.travelodge.co.uk)


7.15 a.m.                 Registration open

8.00 – 8.30 a.m.     Walkers start

9.30 a.m.                 Runners  (long route only)

7.00 p.m.                 Deadline for certificated finish time (maximum time 11 hrs)


In Advance:       £12.00 (LDWA members)         £20.00 (non-members)

Entries Open     Wednesday 1st May 2019

Entries Close:   10 p.m. Sunday 29th September 2019

  • The preferred method of entry is online here

Alternatively use the Entry Form here and either


  • post it to Founders Challenge 2019, 36 Lyal Road, London E3 5QG with a cheque payable to LDWA London Group.

Please use this Entry Form and not the SEF.)

On the day:        £17.00 (LDWA members)          £25.00 (non-members)


(all suitable for vegetarians; please advise if other dietary requirements)

  • Tea, coffee and biscuits at the Start.
  • There are 3 checkpoints on the 30 mile route located at Peaslake Village Hall, Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel and Shere Village Hall providing drinks, light refreshments and a friendly welcome; on the 19 mile route you will pass through the checkpoints at Peaslake and Shere.
  • A light meal at the Finish from 2 p.m.

BRING YOUR OWN MUG (checkpoints will not provide them) and a BOWL/PLATE (which can be left at the Hall) for the meal at the end.


All in-time finishers will receive a certificate. Results will be published on the website. If you prefer your name to be withheld please tell us.


Participants aged between 11 and 16 years (inclusive) will be required to complete and bring with them to the event a completed copy of a Parental Consent form.
You can download a copy of this form by clicking here


All enquiries regarding the event to Gordon Parker founderschallenge@ldwa.org.uk

[Email london.walks@ldwa.org.uk if for any reason you have problems accessing hyperlinks.]

A refund will be paid on cancellations received before Sunday 15th September 2019; £5.00 admin will be charged.

After this date no refund will be paid.


The event could not happen without the hard work of a team of committed volunteers. If you would like to support the London Group as a marshal at a checkpoint or in Guildford, preparing refreshments or as a driver please email Gordon Parker at founderschallenge@ldwa.org.uk


The event was first held in 1997, when it was called the Founders’ Jubilee Challenge.

Tony Youngs devised a 26-mile route to commemorate the founding of the LDWA and the role that Alan Blatchford and Chris Steer played.


OS Landranger 187 & LR 186 (for approximately 3 miles of long route not on 187) or Explorer 145 & 146. You may obtain a single OS Select sheet at 1:25k centred on GR TQ093471 from www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/leisure which covers the entire route.