Exploring Leith Hill

If I’m honest, I’m a bit addicted to the weather app on my iPhone; I typically check it soon after waking, not just to see today’s weather but also the outlook for the coming 9 days (I also check the weather in some of the other places that we have connections, such as Paphos or Dubai, and if things are not so good here, I find myself wishing I was elsewhere …. ), but on this September day, the local weather was looking positive, mid 20’s and sunny, my ideal day. Also, the outlook suggested that the current bout of fine weather was coming to a close, that within a day or two things would be greyer, cooler and wetter, so in short, it was the perfect time (and possibly last time this year), to get out with my camera and enjoy a warm countryside walk.

For this excursion I picked Leith Hill, which is part of Surrey Hills, an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ located about 20 miles away, near Dorking in Surrey. Although I have always been aware of the area, I can’t recall if I’ve ever visited in previously, but this was certainly the right day to make the trip.

Leith Hill itself is the second highest point in South East England at 294m, from where the views of the surrounding countryside are quite stunning. My satnav guided me to the Starveall Corner car park, one of several that are available throughout the area of the Leith Hill Estate, and from here it was a well signed walk along a marked trail to my target destination, Leith Hill Tower.

Fancy a drink?

Leith Hill Tower is a National Trust property, built originally in 1765 by Richard Hull, to be ‘a place for people to enjoy the glory of the English countryside’. On a clear day, climbing the 78 spiral steps to the top of the tower gives you the ability to see the English Channel to the south, and Big Ben to the north (so says Wikipedia), sadly though, access to the tower and its steps is not currently possible due to the pandemic, so I was restricted to enjoying the tower at ground level.

A plaque on the tower reads:
“This tower together with 5 acres of land was presented to The National Trust for places of historic interest or natural beauty by W. J. MacAndrew Esq. of Reigate on 5th October 1923, to be held for the public”

Although no internal access is possible, the tower’s Tanhouse coffee shop is open, from where hot and cold drinks and light snacks can be purchased, and in my case, having coffee and cake at one of the nearby picnic tables proved an excellent way to relax and snap away at the surrounding countryside.

After refreshments, I continued my walk, sharing the tracks and pathways with several other ramblers, and a significant amount of cyclists – the area is particularly popular with trail bikers as I’m assured several good quality trails are on offer.

Some 3 hours after parking, I found my way back to my car, and began the drive home reflecting on an extremely enjoyable visit; the warm sun had shone throughout, my weather app had not let me down!

Links:

Leith Hill Tower National Trust website

Surrey Hills website

Leith Hill Bike Trails

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