Despite living on the outskirts of London, there are so many areas in the South East right on my doorstep that I’ve never really explored. So throughout this year, I wanted to immerse myself and discover some of the parks, historic landmarks, woodlands, views, green spaces and natural wonders outside of London in areas such as Surrey, Sussex and Kent. Since 2016, I’ve kept my walking expeditions to London – with a trip to San Francisco too – so it was fulfilling and fascinating to just take moment to cater to my eagerness to see ‘Beyond London’.
The first destination in this series of blogs is the short Reigate Hill trail located in the Surrey Hills. The walk is 3.3 miles (5.3km) and lasts around two hours providing you with breathtaking views across the Weald towards the South Downs and North Downs as well as enchanting woodlands combined with open green spaces and quaint pathways.
Owned by the National Trust, Reigate Hill is full of rich history from the past few centuries and the Second World War. Back in the Middle Ages towards the end of the 19th Century, Reigate stone was quarried in the area and the old quarries can still be seen from the A25. The stone was used for many buildings across Reigate including the miner’s cottages in The Clears. Reigate was also the site for a fort built in 1898 as part of a 72-mile defence line to protect London. One notable event that occurred on Reigate Hill happened on 19 March 1945 when an American Flying Fortress plane crashed on the hill – sadly killing all nine of the crew – with the circumstances of the crash still unknown today.
The Reigate Hill trail begins from Wray Lane car park, which offers spectacular views across Surrey and perfectly showcases the glorious greenery of the county.
A walk west along the North Downs Way through the grassland brings you to the first opportunity to experience the unbelievable sight towards Box Hill and Leith Hill in the West and the South Downs in the South. While walking along the North Downs Way, you’re simply blown away by the picturesque panorama – and being so high up the wind gently passes by your ears offering a surreal feeling. You do have a sense of feeling on top of the world, or on top of Surrey!
On my walks across London, I’ve seen so many amazing perspectives – whether that’s from Hampstead Heath, Stave Hill or Alexandra Palace – I’ve been lucky enough to be able to see vistas of the most famous landmarks in the capital. However, the view from Reigate Hill is far more unique, in the distance all you can see are trees, rolling hills and fields – there are no skyscrapers, only pockets of houses. This is why heading out to the countryside is beneficial on many levels – from the mental health aspect right through to keeping fit and opening your eyes to wonders like this. The hills are quite steep, so not one for those that don’t like heights!
Hope you’ve enjoyed joining me on my short expedition along Reigate Hill and stay tuned for my next ‘Beyond London’ discovery. Thanks for reading and in the meantime, you can follow all my walks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube – and don’t forget to sign up to my blog too so you don’t miss a post! Also, why not have a read of my other walks which explore all over London, from north to south, to west to east via central, there’s something there for you – and you can also read my very special walk of San Francisco too – and that’s not all – you can also listen to some of my walks on my London Wlogger podcast.
Here are the links to all my walks and podcasts:
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