Hiking in Surrey

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Photo: LK

Hills, woodlands, rivers and fields are all part of the rich landscape you’ll enjoy on your walks in Surrey. Just southwest of London, Surrey has vast tracts of stunning landscape and it’s easy to get deep into nature despite the county’s sizeable cities. 

With huge swathes of patchwork farmland and the beautiful Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, hikes in Surrey will take you over commons, past waterfalls and along rivers. With so many parks and trails, you can choose a laid-back morning ramble or plot a multi-day exploration of the county. 

Explore pretty villages along the River Tillingbourne like Albury, with its labyrinthine paths and Wotton, with its glorious woodland. The county has a chalk ridge straight through the middle, providing trails in different landscapes, depending on which side of this geological divide you’re on. 

Whether you walk north or south in Surrey, you’ll be greeted with wonderful routes and charming villages.


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Getting to know Surrey’s fascinating landscape

The best walks in Surrey are those that draw your attention to the county’s intriguingly diverse geology. Carving the county in two, the North Downs chalk ridge begins near Farnham and extends all the way to the famous white cliffs of Dover. When you hike anywhere here you’ll find accessible trails, fantastic views and wooded valleys. 

The Surrey Hills AONB stretches from the seam of the North Downs south throughout a large proportion of the southern half of the county. It’s here you’ll find the best hiking trails in Surrey, from the heathland at Hankley Common in the southwest all the way to the heavily-wooded Ranmore Common in the heart of the hills. 

Above the North Downs, Surrey is considerably flatter and you can follow trails alongside farmland, across parks and through forests. Surrey is almost a quarter woodland, making it not just a lovely place to explore, but also the most wooded county in England. 

Exploring valleys and following rivers

While the Surrey Hills and North Downs certainly provide excellent trails if you’re after great views with your sandwiches, exploring in the peace of the valleys will show you a whole new side of the area. 

The Tillingbourne Valley is a region of particularly outstanding beauty with riverside trails, quaint villages and fantastic woodlands. The River Tillingbourne doesn’t just provide you with lovely walks, it has an important history and has shaped industry in the valley and beyond. 

From at least the Domesday Book to the start of the 20th century, the Tillingbourne was a heavily industrialised watercourse with mills for iron, paper, gunpowder, corn and more. You can still spot mills and other signs of industry that remain today. 

Surrey’s top sights on hikes

There are plenty of exceptionally pretty places to stop off on your hikes in Surrey but a few are particularly notable. Box Hill is a stunning area criss-crossed with hiking trails leading to wonderful views across the North Downs. If you go in spring you might well catch the blankets of bluebells that flower here each year. 

Leith Hill is another popular spot for a hike with added views. You’ll find both woods and heathland here, along with a view of distant London if you climb Leith Tower and peer through the telescope.

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