26th Founders' Challenge, Saturday 21st October 2023

Welcome to the 26th Founders’ Challenge walk

Saturday 21st October 2023 - 30 and 19 mile options

As introduced in 2019, there will be 2 routes of 30 and 19 miles: the event will start and finish just outside Guildford.

The walk will be in an anti-clockwise direction.

Organised every year since 1997, except 2020, this will be the 26th occasion in person 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.

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


For 2023 there are two 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.

Route descriptions and GPX files are as follows:

19 mile route:  FC2023_19M_press_copy.pdf     FC19M2023.gpx

30 mile route:  FC2023_30m_press_copy.pdf     FC30M_2023.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 the 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; £2.70 return.



You are advised to check train times closer to the time.  

Currently (September 2023) the 0645 departure from London Waterloo [Clapham Junction dep. 0652] arrives Guildford 0723; there is an earlier train departing 0550 from London Waterloo, arriving Guildford 0646.

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)



Entry is through SiEntries

It will remain open until midnight on Friday 13th October 2022. 


In advance:       £12.00 (LDWA members)         £18.00 (non-members)

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 2pm.

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 Chris Blackwell: chris.founders.challenge@gmail.com

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

A refund will be paid on cancellations received before midnight Friday 13th October 2023; £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 Chris Blackwell at chris.founders.challenge@gmail.com



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.