Box Hill

Box Hill is a popular hill in the south east of England, 224 metres high (734ft). It is on the North Downs, a ridge of chalk hills running from Surrey to the White Cliffs of Dover. It's a popular spot for walking, via the stepping stones route, and cycling, including the zig-zag road.

About Box Hill

Box Hill is a hill in Surrey, England, famed for its natural beauty and popularity with walkers and road cyclists. The majority of the hill is owned by the National Trust and forms part of their Box Hill Estate, which also includes several other sites in Surrey. The area has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its botanical value.

Box Hill (colloquially known as ‘Box’) is a steep natural rise in the North Downs on the edge of the Mole Gap, between Headley and Mickleham, in the North Downs area of Surrey.

History

Flint tools found near Box Hill indicate that Mesolithic hunters lived in this area over 10,000 years ago. Evidence shows that there was an Iron Age settlement here too.

Much of the hill has been owned by the National Trust since 1967, and an area of at least 196 hectares (486 acres) around the hill's circumference is designated National Nature Reserve (NNR), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

In Roman times, Box Hill became an important hub since it provided access to roads leading westwards into Surrey or eastwards towards London. The Romans constructed what is now known as Stane Street through this gap in the North Downs; it linked Canterbury with Chichester via Guildford and continued southwards through Reigate towards Brighton.

Car parking

There are various car parking options. The larger Box Hill car park is close to the viewpoint at the top, and it has a large picnic area, toilets, information display boards and a drinking fountain for humans and dogs. It is a paid National Trust car park.

There is also a small National Trust car park at the base of the hill, by the stepping stones route, and another paid car park by the Burford Bridge Hotel.

Public transport

There is a bus stop on the A24 at Box Hill, and buses run from Dorking and Reigate. Box Hill and Westhumble railway station station is also close to the A24.

Cycling

Box Hill is particularly well known for road cycling, and was included in the 2012 Olympic road cycling route. The zig-zag road ascending Box Hill from the Burford Bridge Hotel to the viewpoint is the most popular hill climb segment on Strava - 2.46km, climbing 116 metres.

Botany

In 2007, a survey of Box Hill found that it had the second highest number of insect species in Britain. The first was Dorset Heathlands. Box Hill is one of the most important sites for biodiversity in Surrey and its many habitats provide homes to numerous plants, animals and fungi.

The study was conducted by the Natural History Museum and volunteers from Butterfly Conservation joined with local experts from Surrey Wildlife Trust to count every species present on Box Hill over four days. This was done to mark the centenary of the National Trust who own much of this land today

Box Hill map


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