Leith Hill and Botley Hill

Tower on Leith HillOn 24 February 2002, ignoring the weather forecasts that had predicted rain (or even snow) and hoping that those who predicted a sunny morning would be right, we drove to Leith Hill, near Dorking in Surrey, which is either the highest or the second-highest hill in south-east England at 295m or 968ft (depending on whether one counts Walbury Hill near Newbury, which is 297m, as being in the south-east).

It was on the summit of Leith Hill, A.D. 851, that Ethelwulf, father of Alfred the Great, defeated the Danes who were heading for Winchester, having sacked Canterbury and London.

In 1765, Richard Hull built Leith Hill Tower with the intention, it is said, of raising the hill above 1,000 feet. He had himself buried under the tower. The Tower was restored by the National Trust in 1984, and is open to the public. It has cakes and drinks for sale to reward your efforts.

Stephen on top of Leith Hill tower
Stephen on top of the tower

Lucy on Leith Hill tower
Lucy on the tower - behind her, on a clear day, St Paul's Cathedral can be seen, 42 kilometres away. Today, the sunshine-forecasters had been wrong, and the rain was turning to snow.

Panoramic view from Leith Hill
Panoramic picture to the south and west. On a clear day the English Channel is visible.

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Lucy trying out her new trekking pole.

Stephen by trig point on Botley Hill
Stephen and the trig-point on Botley Hill (267m or 875ft) on the North Downs. The hill's slopes include the highest part of Greater London (the summit being in Surrey). [In 2008, the recognised high point of Botley Hill was moved, so another visit is now needed.]

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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson