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Leith Hill Place and Tower

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Leith Hill Place and Tower
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 27 Nov 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Surrey, Dorking
Walk Type: Woodland
Leith Hill Place and Tower
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 2.5 mile circular woodland walk through the Surrey Hills and taking you to the highest point in south east England – Leith Hill. The walk also passes through the former grounds of Leith Hill Place, a country house dating back to 1600 with its Rhododendron Woods, planted woodland and walled ruins. Note: If you wish to climb the tower to make the most of the views, entrance fees and restricted opening times apply so check the National Trust website in advance.

The walk has a number of climbs and descents throughout, some of which are long and fairly steep. There are no stiles and just a few kissing gates but the final section of the walk follows a long flight of uneven steps cut into the woodland as you descend back to the car park. The paths are all unmade and whilst firm for most of the year, they can be quite muddy in winter and after long periods of rain. Approximate time 1 to 1.5 hours.

Leith Hill is near Coldharbour village in Surrey. The walk starts from the free Windy Gap car parks at Leith Hill on Abinger Road. You can park in either car park – north or south of the road.

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Walk Sections

Start to Kissing Gate
Start to Kissing Gate

Start point: 51.1737 lat, -0.3718 long
End point: 51.1685 lat, -0.3787 long

From the Windy Gap car parks, walk further east along Abinger Road for just a few yards, passing a cottage on the right. Turn right down a track marked with a footpath sign and an orange topped marker post. (Note: you will be following the orange markers throughout this route). You will pass a sign marking the entrance to Leith Hill Place which is managed by the National Trust.

Follow this track downhill and ignore the first footpath off to the left. You will emerge to a junction of paths. Go straight on here, signed as the Woodland Walk. As you come round the bend to the right you will follow a short section of Lime Avenue – a remnant of when this area was part of the landscaped grounds of Leith Hill Place.

Follow the path winding through the woodland over a number of footbridges. On the right you’ll pass some ruined brick walls which once formed the walled gardens of the country home. The path begins to climb uphill and emerges to meet a T-junction with a road. Cross over and turn left along the road for just 40 yards to reach a kissing gate on the right with an orange marker.

Kissing Gate to Stone Track
Kissing Gate to Stone Track

Start point: 51.1685 lat, -0.3787 long
End point: 51.1698 lat, -0.3844 long

Turn right through this kissing gate and follow the track ahead. Over to your right you will see the country house, Leith Hill Place.

Leith Hill Place dates from around 1600. In the mid 19th century the house was bought by Josiah Wedgewood, grandson of the famous potter. Later the house became the home of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. The house was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1944.

After passing the house, go through a kissing gate and then keep straight ahead over the pasture to reach the next gate marked with an orange post. Go through this gate to enter a belt of woodland. At the fork, swing right to reach a T-junction with a wide stone track.

Stone Track to Rhododendron Car Park
Stone Track to Rhododendron Car Park

Start point: 51.1698 lat, -0.3844 long
End point: 51.1733 lat, -0.3831 long

Turn right onto the track and follow it climbing steadily uphill. About 100 yards before you reach the vehicle barrier, fork right to follow the orange markers onto the path into the woodland. Follow this path as it swings right and then winding through the rhododendron wood. As you climb steadily you will pass a car park on the right and then emerge out onto the road.

Rhododendron Car Park to Leith Hill Tower
Rhododendron Car Park to Leith Hill Tower

Start point: 51.1733 lat, -0.3831 long
End point: 51.1763 lat, -0.3715 long

Turn right along the road and just before the road junction ahead, fork left up a set of steps. Cross over the next road with care and take the woodland footpath opposite. Keep left to follow the path steeply uphill with a wall on the right (take care of the rough tree roots underfoot here).

As you reach the top of the slope you will come to a T-junction with a wider stone track. Turn left for a few paces and then immediately right onto the path marked with the sign ‘Footpath to Tower’. Keep following the waymarked track uphill and as you reach a fairly level section you will get your first views over to the right. Continue just a little further to reach Leith Hill Tower ahead.

Leith Hill Tower to End
Leith Hill Tower to End

Start point: 51.1763 lat, -0.3715 long
End point: 51.1743 lat, -0.3714 long

The tower dates from 1765 and stands at 317 metres (965 feet) above sea level, the highest point in south east England. Take time to enjoy the views from the hill top here, both north and south. On clear days the views extend across thirteen counties and as far as the English Channel. If you wish you can pay the entrance fee to climb the tower to see even further.

When you’ve finished exploring return to the noticeboard and this time turn left. Follow this path as it bends to the right and then fork left to begin the descent down the flight of wooden steps. Take care as these steps are uneven and can be a little slippery when wet. At the bottom of the steps you will reach the pair of car parks where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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