We’re lucky to live close by to several areas of natural beauty… but often is the way when you’re focused on the day-to-day, that these stunning landscapes can be pushed aside in favour of a trip to the shops or to the local park, as they can be the closest and within walking distance. So, when grandad from ‘up north’ came down recently to visit, we wracked our brains as to where to take him. Grandad is a keen walker and we really wanted to show him exactly how lovely our surrounding countryside is. Because we used to live in London, he still classes our little slice of suburbia as the ‘city’. We’re hardly rural by any stretch, but just 15-20 minutes drive away it can feel a completely different environment.
Visiting Box Hill Surrey
We opted to take him to Box Hill, in Surrey. I’ve grew up around the area, and not only did I have to negotiate the steep climbs during my Duke of Edinburgh expeditions as a teenager (do you remember those?) but we used to go on balmy summer nights and take picnics. Since then, it’s become somewhat of a favourite local hotspot for us whatever the weather – there are several different walking trails – which include the pretty stepping stones over the Mole River, and a really amazing Nature Trail and plenty for children to explore and play. We really wanted to share just a snippet of the area with grandad.
National Trust Box Hill Surrey Highlights
Box Hill is a summit of the North Downs and takes its name from the ancient box woodland found on the steepest west-facing chalk slopes overlooking the River Mole. The western part, which is closest to us, is owned by The National Trust, and some 850,000 visitors flock to see the outstanding views each year. You may remember that Box Hill also featured heavily in the 2012 Olympics Cycling Road racing events, where thousands of cheering people lined the roads to watch Bradley Wiggins and Chris Frome speed to medal victory.
Box Hill Walks
There are several walks over the hills along various footpaths, and you can go to the visitors centre to get all the information you need to tackle them. During the year there are also particular events from sledging during snowfall, or you’re even able to borrow kites! Kids are encouraged to obtain ‘tracker packs’ to spot all the wonderful foliage and wildlife that is abundant in the area.
Monkey brought along his balance bike to ride, and he loved whizzing up and down the footpaths. But it didn’t take long for it to be dumped in favour of walking! We all loved running down the steep hills – although coming back up wasn’t as much fun!
We then took a path leading us through woodland – which brought us out on to a wonderful viewing point and, after spotting several photographers setting up their tripods, we settled on a bench with prime position to watch the sun setting over the Downs. Unfortunately, my amateurish photography skills don’t do it justice, but it was magnificent.
My father-in-law was pretty impressed with Box Hill Surrey. He was surprised by not only the view of rolling green hills, but how the Surrey countryside sprawled beneath him. He admitted he didn’t even realise it could be so scenic so close to London. And I’m glad we got to open his eyes – as he’s very keen for us to show him some more rural spots next time he’s down. Of course, we’ll happily oblige…
Need To Know Before Visiting
• Box Hill Surrey can be found at The Old Fort, Box Hill Road, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 7LB
• There is a car park – for non-member parking – £1.50 per hour for first 2 hours; £4 for up to 4 hours; £6 for 5 hours and above. Members park for free
• There are many walks at Box Hill walks from short strolls to eight-mile hikes – head to the Shepherd’s Hut by the carpark for information and guides.
• There is a café serving hot and cold food, as well picnic areas and seating