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The top ten places to see great views in Surrey
By Heather Driscoll-Woodford
BBC Surrey

View from the Hogs Back
The Hogs Back offers 360 degree panoramas across Surrey and Hampshire

The Surrey hills offer spectacular, uninterrupted views of the surrounding area and for miles beyond.

For example, on a clear day you can see 13 counties, the Channel and the London skyline from the top of Leith Hill.

And even the county's less well known pinnacles can give you postcard views, if you know where to go.

The obvious low point of Surrey's high points is that some require a bit of stamina and determination to climb them in the first place.

Leith Hill Tower
The view from the top of Leith Hill Tower is amazing

However, the rewards are great if you do persevere.

I remember the time we visited Leith Hill.

We parked in the Landslip Car Park, which we had been told, was a short walk from the tower.

My husband and dog bounded ahead, up the almost vertical and very muddy steps, with all the enthusiasm and agility of two mountain gazelles.

And I was left behind to carry the water bottles, dog biscuits, poo bags, cameras, binoculars etc, in my enormous rucksack (which I had stupidly insisted on bringing with me).

Sweat and mascara

So while they pranced excitedly around the tower admiring the view, and sniffing the undergrowth, I arrived, on my knees, out of breath, rivulets of sweat and mascara cascading down my face, covered in a thick layer of mud.

Not only had I lost a shoe, but I swear I passed a couple of bodies of those who hadn't made the ascent, on the way up.

My delighted husband, oblivious to my plight, flung his arms out wide and taking a deep breath, beamed happily.

"Isn't this wonderful?" he enthused. "What a simply fantastic view!". Before racing off to climb the tower.

Leith Hill
The Walter Bailey sculpture on Leith Hill was carved with a chainsaw

Muttering something about my Mother being right about him from the start, I used the dog's water to clean my contact lenses, and peered out across the vista.

I have to admit, he was correct.

The view from the top of Leith Hill is absolutely stunning.

And in my opinion, at 294 metres (965 ft) above sea level, and as the highest point in the South East, it should be. Especially after the trouble I had getting to the top!

It was only afterwards we discovered that you can also park in the Starveall Corner Car Park instead, which is a gentle stroll to the top.

Note to self, get a map.

But Leith Hill is not the only place to enjoy spectacular views of Surrey. There are plenty more. Here's my Top Ten.

GIBBET HILL

272 metres (892 ft)

Gibbet Hill is the second highest viewpoint in Surrey. From the top you can see over the Devil's Punchbowl, Hankley Common, Crooksbury Hill, and the Hog's Back. Also to the Sussex Weald and the South Downs and the London skyline.

It is topped with a stone Celtic commemorative cross.

Find out more: Gibbet Hill

REIGATE HILL

Reigate Hill Fort
Reigate Hill Fort was never used for its original purpose

232 metres (762 ft)

Take in the views over the town of Reigate, of the Weald and the South Downs.

If you take a look up at the escarpment, you can still see the former stone quarries which supplied materials for many of the local buildings.

Also the site of Reigate Fort built in the 1890's to protect London from invasion, but never used for that purpose.

Find out more: Reigate Hill

COLLEY HILL

230 metres (756 ft)

Has views of the South Downs and across to adjoining Reigate Hill. On a clear day you can see the planes landing and taking off from Gatwick Airport.

There is a domed folly situated here called the Inglis Memorial which was built in 1909 as a drinking fountain for horses en route to Reigate.

Find out more: Colley Hill

HASCOMBE HILL

197 metres (644 ft)

Part of the Greensand Way above the North Downs, the hill is a close neighbour of Leith Hill. Due to its height, it was the perfect spot for the Iron Age hill fort that was situated there in the 1st Century BC.

Later in the 19th Century it housed a naval telegraph station.

Find out more: Hascombe Hill

BOX HILL

Image of Box Hill. By John Miller. www.surreyhills.org
The view from Box Hill is just one of Surrey's many great vistas

193 metres (634 ft)

The woodland and chalk downland has great views across the South Downs. It is home to at least a dozen wild orchid species, which you can see early June to early July.

And some of the best sledging to be had when it snows!

Find out more: Box Hill

NEWLANDS CORNER

170 metres (500 ft)

Privately owned by the Albury Estate, the chalk ridge has views across the Weald to the ridge of the South Downs.

It is famed in the Summer for its carpets of wild flowers.

Find out more: Newlands Corner

ST MARTHA'S HILL

160 metres (525 ft)

Again, privately owned by the Albury Estate, St Martha's Hill is topped off with a Norman church. On a clear day you can see eight counties from the summit.

Walkers can join the North Downs Way and the Downs Link from the hill.

Find out more: St Martha's Hill

HOGS BACK

VIEW FROM THE TOP
View from the Hogs Back

154 metres (505 ft)

Climb The Mount , at the Guildford end of the Hogs back and walk along the path which was once the coach route to Farnham.

From various points along the way you will be rewarded with views down onto the ancient Pilgrim's Way or North Down's Way, as it is now called. Also over Pewley Down, Guildford, to the London skyline and to Bagshot Heath and High Curley.

Find out more: The Hogs Back

HIGH CURLEY

129 metres (423 ft)

Situated on the edge of Lightwater Country Park, this steep gravel hill offers views of Guildford, Woking, Ascot racecourse, Bagshot Park and the London skyline.

For a flat, easy walk to the top, take one of the public footpaths through the MOD land from the Maultway in Camberley.

Find out more: High Curley


Have I missed your favourite viewpoint in Surrey? Email me at surrey@bbc.co.uk and let me know where you think offers the best views across the county.

YOUR SUGGESTIONS

From the Sheepleas (an area of the downs above Horsley) there are wonderful vistas of London from Docklands to the east, Heathrow in the middle and the western approaches to the capital.

Horsley Sheepleas

On a clear day it's possible to see for amazing distances. To celebrate the millennium, the local parish councils erected a viewpoint on the Sheepleas with an illustrated plan to identify landmarks on the skyline.

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is recognised nationally as being countryside of unique value, which needs to be nurtured for future generations to enjoy.

The Surrey Hills Society is an independent charity promoting the positive enjoyment and care of the Surrey Hills for those who live, work in or visit the area. The Society organises a full programme of walks, talks and events giving the opportunity to enjoy the unique landscape; this includes a specialist walk on the Sheepleas for members later in the year.

Further details on www.surreyhillssociety.org

June Robinson

A lovely survey, thank you! But Holmbury Hill was the view that thrilled me most on my first view.
Conor

View from Hombury Hill

Try a walk in the Hurtwood. Between Shere and Ewhurst. This picture of the London skyline was taken from Holmbury Hill Iron Age Fort. Note you can see The Gherkin and Tower 42 to the left.
Mark Edwards.





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