The Surrey Hills (AONB)
The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers a quarter of the county. The hills stretch across the chalk North Downs that run from Farnham in the west above Guildford, Dorking and Reigate, to Oxted in the east. The hills embrace an amazing variety of countryside, from the rolling chalk downs of yew and box woodland and flower rich grasslands, to the acid heaths and woodland of the Greensand Hills that rise to form the highest point in south east England at Leith Hill. They contain a mosaic of woodland, scrub and open downland. In between are the river valleys of the Wey, Tillingbourne and Mole and the heaths of Frensham, Thursley and Blackheath.
The Surrey Hills offers some of south east England’s most beautiful and accessible countryside. Famous beauty spots include Box Hill, Leith Hill and the Devil’s Punch Bowl. You’ll discover an extensive footpath network, open commons, breathtaking views, attractive market towns, villages and much more. Opportunities abound for exploring this special area; follow one of the many walking routes through the Surrey Hills such as the Mole Gap Trail, near Dorking, where you can amble along next to the soothing sounds of the River Mole, or the Frensham, Churt and Tilford walks which combine dramatic heathland with spectacular views and the opportunity to dip your toes in Frensham Ponds (known locally as Surrey’s beach!) While you’re out and about you may well come across a series of unusual looking oak sculptures. These aim to raise awareness of the Surrey Hills landscape and are all based upon the Surrey Hills logo.
As well as the Surrey Hills, a small part of the High Weald starts in the district of Tandridge. The word ‘Weald’ means wilderness or forest and much of the area is historic countryside with rolling hills that eventually lead to the coast at Hastings. This area was designated the High Weald AONB in 1983.