please empty your brain below

My absolute favourite local spot and I visit it regularly every year.

Sadly its the one that it relatively difficult to get to by public transport from Purley and although we normally use the car I have got there various combinations of train, bus and walking many times.

I was surprised that you mentioned bikes then realised you meant motor bikes. I have never cycled to Box Hill itself but the surrounding area is surprisingly good for cycling. There are many quiet roads, the Surrey Cycleway route is signposted and the main roads actually have decent cyclepaths running parallel.

If you go by bus then not only can you use your Oystercard but can use between Leatherhead station and Box Hill even though no part of the journey is in Greater London. Last time I did this a lot of people doing short local journeys paid £2 cash. I wonder if they realised they could legitimately use an Oyster card.

One thing they keep quiet about in the servery is that they will offer you a pound discount if you can prove that you arrived by public transport (e.g. a rail ticket). How you convince them that you came by bus and used a pay-as-you-go Oystercard I do not know.

Ah that brings back many childhood memories, particularly those stepping stones. I grew up just a few miles along the Downs from there.


Went there years ago with an ex (she was meant to be trekking in Nepal, I suggested it as preparation!) - it's a tough walk for namby-pamby city types like me, but crikey, it's worth it.

Box Hill was a favourite day out for me when I was a young lad growing up in Mitcham Surrey, All my mates and I would set out on our bikes for a journey that would take about two hours at the speed that we cycled, one of the great rewards that awaited us was the fact that a new very modern Wimpy Bar ( one of the first in England) had been built right at the top very near to where the National Trust visitor centre now stands, the very building it stood in is still there and is now an American fast Food resturant called "Smith and Western" that is very busy and seems to specialise in Birthday Meals.
We were also taken there on a School Trip by our geography master who was showing us how to descend a steep muddy bank in a safe way when much to our delight he slipped and rolled about thirty feet in thick mud.
I must agree with you a great place for a day out.

Great post, DG. I do enjoy the occasional trip up Box Hill - normally by getting a train to Surbiton or Chessington South then taking the 465 which you describe. If you look carefully as you make the ascent (I've always done it from the bottom of the Zig Zag straight up the side for some reason - at some point it meets your described route) then you can make out a London skyline peering between the hills.

If you want a bit of real jaw-dropping scenery on the way (OK, so living in a flat part of London my standards aren't that high), travel to Redhill then pick up the North Downs Line to Dorking Deepdene. For the less nimble, there's a NT-subsidised (but not free) bus (the 516, I think) that goes to the top from there too, though the option to walk remains - it isn't that far, and you can see those trains passing close below Box Hill from the viewpoint at the top. It really does look like a trainset from that high up!

Question to anyone who might know, as my Surrey/Sussex geography is a bit wonky: what is that conurbation you can pick out on the far horizon looking from the viewpoint? Gatwick? Crawley?

Did you get to the gravestone of the chap who was buried upside down,DG? Somewhere south of the NT shop, I think. It is well documented on flickr,here for example.

Box Hill brings back some brilliant childhood memories for me. It is really close to my nan's house and we used to go there alot and we still do when I go down there. My aunty actually had her wedding reception in the Burford Bridge Hotel.

The car park at the bottom was regularly used by coaches carrying school parties from West Sussex to any of the London museums during the 70s and 80s as a place to stop to allow kids to use the loo.
I recall a day when our entire year from secondary school was being transported to the (I think) British Museum in three coaches. One broke down here and we completed the rest of the journey crammed three to a seat. Wouldn't be allowed these days.

Of course, the highlight was stuffing oneself full of burger and chips in the three minutes we had for loo break and then watching the fat kid being sick some miles further down the A24.

Pedantry: it's only too bloody obvious why they built a fort on top of the hill when invaders would march up the valley. They could see them coming and then could simply aim their guns/cannon down the valley and take easy pot shots at them. If you want to defend effectively, gain control of the high ground. If you want to attack effectively, tempt the defenders into the valley (check how William (in the valley) beat Harold (on the hill) at Battle in 1066 - basically by pretending to retreat so that the Saxons ran down the hill to attack, then turning on them and beating them by superior numbers, training, freshness and equipment - advantages that were nullified all the while Harold and his men stayed at the top of the hill).

Lying back in the waterless & spiky grass
Looking up at the fluffy clouds seem closer now
Looking down through the tumbling grass to the line of trees
All the cars on the Gulldford Road are just a murmur now

Foot-worn paths like white-washed dreams run down the hill
Red kite waving so frantically in the bluey sky
Family with a little girl in a blowy dress
She crouches down to pick a flower then dances on

Bah bah...

Right up here I'm far away from everything
Right up here there's nothing that can touch me now
The only thing that stabs my back is spiky grass
The only thing that makes me fall is liberty

Bah bah...
On box hill
On box hill
Here until

Ben Watt - "On Box Hill", off the classic "North Marine Drive" album.

There are other forts along the North Downs as well. Napoleonic, WWI etc. There is a similar one at Reigate.

The one at Box Hill enjoys protected status both as an ancient monument (but its not that old) and as a bat cave. Sadly because of the latter visitors are never allowed to see inside the former.

Box Hill station is beautiful. A really Victorian station totally un modernised. It is even used in TV adverts.

My wife was brought up in a house at the foot of Box Hill, just next to the vineyard. She used to be a runner at school and she would run up and down Box Hill as a training run. She couldm't run for a bus these days!

Nico - the conurbation you can see is indeed Crawley / Gatwick. If you look carefully you can follow planes as they take off and land.

Box Hill is one of my favourite places. I sketched the view from memory for my Geography O Level!

There are miles and miles of walks fanning out from Box Hill across Surrey, and you rarely even need to cross a road.

One of my favourite places too. Many crazy people take midnight picnics on the top on Mid-summer night, then stay up to watch the dawn. Fantastic! (P.S.there are plenty of blackberries to be gathered in the woods aw well)

What can I add- great post and photos
Re the motorcyclists. My neighbour, one of the regulars ,says that they have been gathering there for at least 30 years and that the A23 was the one road in S London/Surrey where you could always drive fast, legally, with great bends,for several miles

DG - how do you do it? every weekend a new place, Random Boroughs, back to Oxford..... you must be an incredibly energetic individual to do all this PLUS hold down a job. i'm jealous :o)

on another note - spent 2 weeks at the Box Hill FSC centre doing field work for my second year uni ecology course - two weeks trapping moths :o)

Nice sunday walk at Box Hill. I know of another place that you will love, but its no where near Surrey. Its at Dovedale, in the Derbyshire Dales of the Peak District. Stunning views...sorry, no pic, and a walkers paradise. The River Dove and Manifold valley are all part of this very scenic area. So, if you're looking for a new place to explore and fancy walking...Dovedale is definitely worth a day or two or three.

So that's why Dumpys Rusty Nuts were so desperate to get there!

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