Leith Hill and Botley Hill
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
Stephen on top of the 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 picture to the south and west. On a clear day the English Channel
Lucy trying out her new trekking pole.
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.]