Capacity: 2,000 (Seats 250)
Address: Mill Lane, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1DX
Pitch Type: Artificial 3G
Club Nickname: Wanderers
Year Ground Opened: 1953
Home Kit: Red, White and Blue
Looking at the Meadowbank Ground you would find it hard to believe that football has been played here since 1953, as it is completely modern in all aspects. A new ground and a Headquarters for the Surrey Football Association were opened on the site in 2018, at a cost of around £5m. Originally the home of Dorking FC, who after 137 years folded in 2017, the area's newcomers Dorking Wanderers were able to continue flying the football flag for the town. Considering that Dorking Wanderers were only formed in 1999, then their progress up the league pyramid has been nothing short of phenomenal. Eleven promotions in 20 years says it all and they moved to Meadowbank in 2018 after previously playing at the Westhumble Playing Fields.
The ground is located in a picturesque setting with the tall spire of St Martins Church overlooking the ground from one side. While looking out over the other side spectators can enjoy views of the Surrey Hills. On one side is the Main Stand. Containing 250 seats located in six rows, this covered all-seated stand is raised slightly above pitch level. This means that spectators have to climb a small set of steps to enter it. Running for around a quarter of the length of the pitch, the stand straddles the halfway line and has windshields to either side. To one side of the stand is a larger club building, which amongst other things contains the social club on the first floor. Whilst on the other side of the Main Stand is a small covered standing enclosure. Opposite on the North Side of the pitch as well at the West End the ground is open to the elements and doesn't have spectator facilities as such, apart from some small flat standing areas, running behind the pitch perimeter fence. The team dugouts are located on this site, leading to a procession of players and club staff at half an full time as the dressing rooms are located on the other side of the ground. Behind these dugouts is a small electronic scoreboard which was working on my visit.
The East End is also largely open, although there is a small covered terrace on one side. Behind this end is a wooden clad building that contains a cafe and children's indoor play area. The teams come out on to the pitch from the dressing rooms located near the South- East corner of the stadium. Around the ground constructed above the perimeter fence are wired panels that are to try and prevent balls being kicked out of the stadium, this is particularly needed on the North and West sides of the ground where it is overlooked by houses. Plus there are public footpaths running behind the North and East sides too. The ground has an artificial 3G pitch, as well as eight tall thin floodlights, four of which are located down each side.
Normally I am not a fan of new build grounds, but in the case of Meadowbank, I will make an exception. Firstly the facilities are excellent. You can see at first hand that this ground has not been built on the cheap. Secondly, unlike most new builds that are located out of town, Meadowbank is only a few minutes walk from Dorking High Street, where there are plenty of pubs and eating places to be. Add in a nice setting and a friendly welcome and you have all the ingredients of a good footballing day out.
Normally fans are not segregated at Meadowbank, but if they were to be then away supporters would be given the East end of the ground, which comprises a small covered terrace and areas of open flat standing. The small covered standing areas to allow for some noise to be generated. Food on offer is the usual football fayre of Cheeseburgers (£3.50 single, £5 double), Burgers (£3 single, £4.50 double), Hot Dogs (£3) and Chips (£2), But alas no pies! I also noticed on my visit that it was quite easy to peer over the perimeter fence on the North side. Not that I would be encouraging you to watch the game for nothing.
There is a small lounge bar located on the first floor of the club buildings, which is also called the Healthy Kitchen. The bar has Sky and BT Sports and enjoys good views across the ground. It normally welcomes visiting supporters. However, due to its size, it can get quite crowded. There is also an outside Fan Zone bar next to the Main Stand that it is contained within a wooden chalet type building and has a number of tables and seats. Apart from bottles of beer, plus wines and spirits, it also offers a number of draught drinks at around £4 a pint including; London Pride, Fosters, Guinness and Stowford Press. You are also allowed to smoke in this outdoor bar area.
The Meadowbank ground is only a few minutes walk from Dorking High Street where there are a number of pubs to be found. Probably the closest is the Surrey Yeoman on the High Street and the Red Bar, just off the High Street on Dene Street. The Surrey Yeoman does have the added benefit of Sky Sports. Whilst towards the other end of the High Street, bearing left onto South Street are the Bulls Head and Spotted Dog. Both these pubs show Sky Sports. Whilst on West Street are the Old House and the Star.
If arriving at Dorking Railway Station, then on the Station Approach is the Lincoln Arms which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
Leave the M25 at Junction 9 and take the A243 and then the A24 towards Dorking. After around 12 miles of mostly dual carriageway, you will reach the outskirts of Dorking. Continue past the turn off for the railway stations on your left and the Lincoln Arms. At the next roundabout take the fourth exit onto the A25 (Signposted Dorking Town Centre). After passing a BP Garage on your left continue straight along the High Street. On reaching the White Horse Hotel on the left, turn right into Mill Lane (Signposted St Martin's Walk Parking/Football Ground). At the fork in the road bear left for the St Martin's Walk Car Park (Pay and Display £1 per hour), or bear right down the narrow lane to the ground entrance, which is at the bottom on the left. However, there is no parking available to visiting supporters at the ground.
The St Martin's Walk Car Park holds over 350 cars so is of a fair size. If it is full then there are other pay and display car parks signposted off the High Street. There is plenty of street parking to be found on the other side of the ground to the High Street around Chalkpit Lane (RH4 1EY). Then at the bottom of this road, there is a footpath (across from the handy Dolphin Fish & Chip shop) going to the left that leads you to the ground.
Dorking is served by three railway stations, Dorking, Dorking West and Dorking Deepdene, which are all in walking distance of the Meadowbank Ground. Dorking West is the closest to the ground being half a mile away and is on the same line as Dorking Deepdene. Both Dorking West and Dorking Deepdene are served by trains from Reading and Redhill. However, most fans are likely to end up at Dorking mainline station as this is served by trains from London Waterloo and London Victoria. Dorking Railway Station is around three-quarters of a mile away from Meadowbank or about a 15 minute walk.
Exit the main entrance at Dorking Station and proceed down the Station Approach Road in front of you. Go past the Lincoln Arms and turn left alongside the dual carriageway. Go under the railway bridge and cross over the dual carriageway using the pedestrian crossing. The turn right at the Esso Station onto London Road. Then take the second right into Rothes Road. At the end of Rothes Road, you need to turn left. At the end of the wall turn right and immediately right again onto the pathway running alongside a row of cottages, to take you down to the ground. If you want a slightly more direct and picturesque route then on proceeding down London Road you will reach a small development of new houses on the right called Tutts Close. You will see a pathway going down in-between some railings. This will lead you down alongside a brook and the edge of a park to the ground.
From Dorking Deepdene: Come down from the station and cross the main road (London Road), at the lights. Once across turn left and then right into what is still London Road. Bear right down Tutts Close and follow the footpath beside the river. At the children’s playground, go straight on and the turnstiles are on the right. 10 minutes walk (maximum).
From Dorking West: Far less trains stop here and it is tucked away amongst some industrial buildings, but for completeness, directions are as follows: Exit the station from the south platform (Reading bound trains). Go down a narrow path and then turn left into Station Road. Walk down this road until you come to some shops. Walk directly in front of the shops and cross the main road, (Chalkpit Lane), going straight across. There is a footpath just about there that will take you directly to the North West corner of the ground. Do NOT turn right at this point. Keep straight on, following the perimeter of the ground right round to the back of the main stand where you will find the turnstiles. (10 minute walk).
Thanks to Brian Scott for providing the train information.
Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Click on the banner below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:
Over 60's/Students* £9
Under 18's £4
Under 8's Free**
* With current NUS Card.
** When accompanied by a paying adult.
Official Matchday Programme £3.
Leatherhead and in this league Eastbourne Borough.
If you require hotel accommodation in the Dorking area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Booking.com. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Just input the dates below that you wish to stay and then select from the map the hotel of interest to get more information. The map is centered to the football ground. However, you can drag the map around or click on +/- to reveal more hotels in the town centre or further afield.
1,529 v Leatherhead
29th December 2018, Isthmian League Premier Division
2018-2019: 570 (Isthmian League Premier Division)
If there is anything that needs to be updated or if you have something to add to the Guide to Meadowbank Dorking Wanderers then please email me at: [email protected].
Dorking Wanderers v Hampton and Richmond Borough
National League South
Saturday 24th August 2019, 3pm
(Myles Munsey - Ground hopper)
Reasons for visit
My friend from the Portsmouth area joined me again for the second outing this year. I like to take the opportunity to visit a new club and one that I had read a lot about. Moreover travelling time wise this was about equal for both of us so the opportunity to watch football in the shadow of the Surrey Hills was welcomed.
I took the train to Dorking Deepdene arriving at 13.15 with my friend’s train pulling into Dorking Main at 13.35. It was an easy matter of taking the five minute stroll between the two stations and meeting him there. The plan to have coffee and a sandwich on the station was thwarted by them shutting up shop so we jumped into a taxi and made straight for the Meadowbank ground.
A small ground and a modern one – rather like Slough and also with a 3G pitch and a 2,000 capacity which again is the same as Arbour Park. But there the similarity ended. The setting is quite delightful, park on one side, trees on another, semi-detached houses on a third and that lovely steeple church behind the Main Stand. The Surrey Hills bathed in the sunshine were visible to the north and east.
Before the game
We chose to take refreshment at the ground but this was taken outside rather than inside at the little café in the North West corner. This adjoins a children’s play area so we sat on brightly coloured chairs which was a bit odd, but actually the Panini, cake, and banana went down well. On a warm day, it was cool inside and most agreeable.
On going into the ground, seats were found just on the halfway line which gave a good view of the action, but being rather low down the near touchline was difficult to observe. Nevertheless, it was comfortable and there was plenty of legroom.
As with the March game at Aldershot, this was played in warm sunshine so again I sat there in shirtsleeves. The sun was mostly behind the Main Stand so did not bother us unduly though it must have been awkward for the players. Due to a colour clash Hampton wore a change strip of pale blue and white stripes. I thought for a moment I was watching Coventry City!
Whilst there were some spells of good play from both sides in a pretty uneventful half, too often a promising raid was spoilt by niggly fouls and tug backs. The referee kept on top of this issuing three yellow cards altogether but there was far too much back chat. The linesman on the near side was subjected to quite a bit of ‘verbal’ which I found disappointing and unnecessary. There was a fair amount of aerial football with the ball going over the perimeter fence at least three times. Hampton chose a more direct approach and had players willing to run with the ball at the opposition so gradually they grew into the game and by halftime they were beginning to assert themselves. It was one of those days when it looked as though a goal would never come so the one and only goal when it did come was worth waiting for.
On 58 minutes Sam Deadfield struck a delightful curling free kick from the right corner of the penalty box which dipped over the wall and nestled in the far corner of the net. A left footed strike hit with deadly accuracy. And that I’m afraid was that and there was little of note in the remaining half hour. It was another of those soporific afternoons where I have to own up and say that I was observing cattle on one of the far distant Surrey Hills at one point! Actually it wasn’t that bad a game –I’ve seen far worse but Hampton showed more enterprise and deserved their first win of the season.
The taxi driver was ready and waiting when we exited at 5 o’clock so I saw my friend off on his journey to Cosham whilst I strolled around for my 17.43 Deepdene to Reading.
It is always interesting to see a new ground, particularly a modern one and there is no doubt that the football – community relationship here is well cemented. After a good start to the season, the wheels have come off a bit for Dorking and a first win for Hampton and Richmond. Now they need to push on.
Dorking v Kingstonians
Isthmian League Premier Division
Saturday 9th February 2019, 3pm
Brian Scott (Neutral)
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