Climbing Box Hill: The hilltop stroll

Box Hill is just a short drive from where we live, and in my life time I must have driven past it countless times.

Before we arrived, I had no idea that Box Hill is a National Trust site, and it consists of a number of trails, some like the stepping stones are more known than others. Starting from the base of the hill, we decided to take on the Hilltop Stroll trail.

We climbed from the main road, and at first we thought it’s going to rain, which would have put a huger downer on the excursion.

Box Hill is quite steep, but it’s no Old Man of Coniston, it’s a great walk if you’re looking to feel like you’ve had a walk, but not be completely exhausted by the end of it.

At some point, we found ourselves at a summit and we were looking out across Dorking and the famous Denbies Vineyard – a steadfast and historic marker on the landscape, and a place that is also on the list to visit.

The great thing about this particular trail, is that at one point you find yourself in open air, looking at the sprawling Surrey landscape, and the next thing you know, you’re in a forest, so it really does provide a decent sense of variety.

As we walked through the forest we came across a headstone, or a marker of you will, for a now deceased local resident…

Major Peter Labelliere

The memorial read:

Major Peter Labelliere
Aged 75
An eccentric resident of Dorking was buried here head downwards 11th July 1800

A Google search has revealed that he was a British Major, who was against the American Civil War of Independence. In the late 1700s he was in regular contact with Benjamin Franklin (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States), whilst Benjamin Franklin was based in France.

Box Hill was a regular place of meditation for Major Labelliere, and it was in accordance with his wishes that he was buried there, head downward.

It’s amazing what you can find, and I wonder what influence the Major had on the history of his time.

There’s a little bit more about Major Labelliere here.

We kept walking and we soon found ourselves at Salomons viewpoint (The Viewpoint), which looks out the whole of Dorking and Surrey.

In 1914, Leopold Salomen (a director for the City of London) purchased over 200 acres of Box Hill, to spare the area from development. His purchase was later donated to the nation. (Thanks Leo!)

What struck me most at this point in the walk, was the amount of people who were out and about – during these uncertain times. It really does show that a lot of people are regaining an appreciation for green open spaces that are on their doorstep.

The sun also made an appearance on this point, which made for a lovely walk back down the other side of the hill top.

We were very lucky on the second half of the day – the sun really made the difference on the landscape, and being that high, the air really is clearer at that height.

It was great to sit down and just survey the area before heading home.

Overall, this was a fantastic walk that killed a good few hours – I would definitely recommend it. Looking back, I would perhaps do some research on the different trails, to avoid a concentration of people accumulating on one trail.

I think we’ll definitely go back at some point and take on a different trail, perhaps the stepping stones and the river walk. I am very curious about visiting Denbies though, and I would love to give that a visit some time soon.


VIDEO: The Old Man of Coniston, Lake District

Over the course of Christmas and New Year, we had the honour and welcome of witnessing our good friends get married in the Lake District, and we couldn’t help but visit The Old Man of Coniston while we were there 🙂


Exploring Nuuksio National Park, Helsinki – Finland

I’m lucky enough to have a job where I get to do a decent bit of travelling and last week I was in Helsinki, Finland.

Photo by Fresatomica
Allotment Diary Travels

The allotments of Berlin

This week I’m volunteering at WCEU which is being held in Berlin, Germany and I couldn’t go the whole week without squeezing in a teeny weeny bit of blogging while I’m here.

Allotment Diary Travels

RHS Glow 2018 at Wisley

This week I was lucky enough to visit the Glow are RHS Wisley in Surrey.

RHS Wisley is the flagship garden for the Royal Horticulture Society and for someone who grows their own veg, it’s a real treat to go there – I simply don’t go there often enough. The great thing about Wisley is that it changes with the seasons, which means that each time you go – you really do see something new, and the best of the season.

The Glow is no exception. I’d never been to a garden whereby the combination of lighting and plants were the focus. It’s a great idea entice footfall to the gardens during the colder winter months – and it also breaks up the time between Christmas and New Year fantastically.


Exploring Painshill Park, Surrey

Painshill Park is a place that is on my doorstep and one that I confess to not visiting as often as a I should. Painshill Park is located in Cobham, Surrey and is just just a short drive from where I live.