“If you look to the East you can see the Ural mountains”, I said confidently. This was obviously not true, but in theory it could be possible. If you had supersonic eyesight. I had been reassured the night before that, going eastwards, Leith Hill is the highest point until you get to the Urals. This totally trumped my top fact that the tower was built to increase the official height of the hill to make it the highest point in the south east and take it over 1,000ft.
Leith Hill is one of the Surrey Hills and is the highest point on the Greensand Ridge. It is in the south east of England and for me is a not-often-enough visited place for running and walking. Last weekend, I was running. The UK is bravely trying to spring into spring after several months of grey skies and rain. Lots of rain. But over the last few weeks, we’ve had some bright, crisp days with the sun making an appearance and cloudless blue skies. Perfect viewing conditions for long distance hills.
The other benefit of Leith Hill (apart from the views), is that it sits on sand and so you’re less likely to sink ankle deep in mud when exploring the countryside. It’s also quite stony (more so than other parts of the Surrey Hills) so beware of the potential to sprain your ankle. Once you’ve got the safety aspects sorted, what else is there to look for?
Starting with the obvious, the gothic Tower is worth a visit: you can climb it, or you can catch you breath admiring the views with refreshments from the booth (National Trust, so excellent flapjacks and real mugs). Round and about you can explore the location of Leith Hill Place, the home of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams – inspiration for variations on Greensleeves, perhaps?. The other interesting inhabitants of Leith Hill Place were Josiah Wedgewood and his wife Caroline Darwin. They are to thank for the Rhododendron Wood and I like to think that there may be some evolutionary secrets discovered, or still to be discovered, in the area.
So I’d encourage you to explore for yourself.
– Find somewhere local, that you haven’t been for a while,
– Dig out some local facts
– Tell your friends