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Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 17:40 UK
Saving Surrey's heritage for future generations
By Heather Driscoll-Woodford
BBC Surrey

Interior of Polesden Lacey
The interior of the Hon. Mrs Greville's famous party house, Polesden Lacey

The 587ft hill Hydon's Ball near Hambledon bears a memorial to Octavia Hill, British social reformer and founder of the National Trust.

With Sir Robert Hunter, who grew up in Dorking, and the Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, they set up the Trust to act as a heritage guardian for the nation.

In April the Trust won visitEngland's Outstanding Contribution to Tourism prize at the Enjoy England Awards.

We look at local property saved by the organisation for future generations.

The founding trio had come together in 1895, when open space campaigners Miss Hill and Sir Robert were approached by the Canon, a keen conservationist, to help save a property in the Lake District.

When they started the National Trust they could have had little idea of the impact their actions would have for the nation, over a century later.

Leith Hill
Woodland at the 965 ft Leith Hill, the highest point in the South East

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty was formed with 100 members and the first acquisition was the coastal hillside of Dinas Oleu in Wales .

Today the Trust has over 3.5m members, with 350 historic buildings in its care nationwide, eight of them in, or on the borders of, Surrey.

It also has 12 countryside attractions in our county and more than 3090 hectares of publicly accessible countryside.

The total land in Surrey cared for by the Trust covers 5888 hectares and includes open countryside, farmland, ancient woodland, parks and gardens.

A Haslemere resident from 1883 until his death in 1913, the work of joint founder Sir Robert Hunter was honoured in 1919, when the National Trust purchased the nearby heath land and ponds at Waggoners Wells, dedicating it to his memory.

Octavia, who died in 1912, is remembered with a stone monument and seat, erected by her family at Hydon's Ball, overlooking the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley died eight years later, at his home, Allan Bank in Grasmere in the Lake District.

The house, whose previous residents included poet William Wordsworth, was bequeathed to the National Trust for the nation, by the Canon on the event of his death.



CLANDON PARK: A grand Palladian mansion with a magnificent two-story marble hall and collections of 18th century furniture, porcelain and textiles.

HATCHLANDS PARK: 18th-century Surrey mansion with Robert Adam interiors & collection of keyboard instruments.

SHALFORD MILL: Timber-framed watermill on the River Tillingbourne with preserved machinery, practically unaltered since closing as a working mill in 1914.

THE HOMEWOOD: 20th-century house and garden designed by the architect Patrick Gwynne in the Modern Movement style.

POLESDEN LACEY: Regency country house which was owned by the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan and later by the Edwardian hostess the Hon. Mrs Greville DBE, who held house parties for royalty, the rich and the famous.

REIGATE FORT: Nineteenth century defensive fort positioned on top of Reigate Hill, affording sweeping views across the South Downs.

OAKHURST COTTAGE: A restored and furnished 16th-century timber-framed labourer's cottage.


HYDON'S BALL AND HEATH: Woods and heath land with planting by Gertrude Jekyll, set within the Surrey Hills AONB.

WITLEY & MILFORD COMMONS: Heathland and scrub with scenic woodland.

BOX HILL: At 193 metres (634 ft) the woodland and chalk downland t is one of Surrey highest points, with 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.

WINKWORTH ARBORETUM: A hillside arboretum which contains over 1000 shrubs and trees. Spring highlights include magnolias, rhododendrons, bluebells and azaleas.

The barge Reliance which used to work the River Wey in the 1930s


One of the first British rivers to be made navigable, and opened to barge traffic in 1653. The visitors centre at Dapdune Wharf tells the story of the people who lived and worked on the water.

LEITH HILL: At 294 metres (965 ft) above sea level, it is the the highest point in the South East. On a clear day you can see 13 counties, the Channel and the London skyline from the top.

FRENSHAM LITTLE POND: Man-made pond which formed when a dam was built in 1246. It was used to supply fish to the Bishop of Winchester's court when he visited Farnham Castle.

HINDHEAD COMMONS AND THE DEVIL'S PUNCH BOWL: Woodland valleys and heath, marking the gateway to the Surrey Hills. Rumoured to have been made by the Devil scooping up the earth during a fight.

DENBIES HILLSIDE: Chalk escarpment west of Dorking with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and local vineyards.

CLAREMONT LANDSCAPE GARDENS: A garden surrounding a lake and featuring an unusual turf amphitheatre, an island pavilion on the lake, a grotto and viewpoints.


HAM HOUSE AND GARDEN: Built in 1610 for Sir Thomas Vavasour, Knight Marshal to James I, the house was donated to the National Trust by Sir Lyonel Tollemache.and his son, Cecil, in 1948.

MORDEN PARK HALL: Parkland, meadows, wetlands, rose gardens and waterways alongside historic estate buildings. Also the site of 18th-century powder snuff mills, which ground tobacco into snuff.

National Trust wins tourism award
24 Apr 10 |  England
Things to do: Surrey's River Wey
16 Apr 10 |  Things to do
In pictures: Polesden Lacey
25 Feb 10 |  History
Historic barge restored at wharf
06 Jun 08 |  Surrey
See for miles from Surrey's hills
01 Dec 09 |  People & Places



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