BOAT: Leith Hill Lane

Location: Capel, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6HE, UK
  • Overall Rating: 4
  • Location: Coldharbour, Surrey.
  • OS Explorer Map 146, 'Dorking, Box Hill & Reigate, Leatherhead & Caterham.'
  • Starting OS Grid Reference: TQ150440
  • Starting GPS Co-ordinates: N51 11' 03.94" W000 21' 15.39"
  • Finishing OS Grid Reference: TQ141430
  • Finishing GPS Co-ordinates: N51 10' 32.03" W000 22' 07.82"
  • To see: Leith Hill Tower, sited on the highest point in the south-east of England.
  • ALWAYS follow the Greenlane Code!
This BOAT is all about hills. It starts life as a relatively steep ascent up towards the Coldharbour Cricket Club's ground, a delightful little ground with an awesome view over the Surrey Hills. The lane here, at it's eastern end, is not quite a metalled road (see left), but it's very easy going despite the slope and therefore there is little to report for this section. However, once you've crested the hill and found your way past the club's car park (at around one third of the total length), the lane proper begins. The surface changes to dirt, and the lane enters oak woodland. It winds around on the relatively level (if muddy) ground near the summit of Hill 288 for a while, before it begins a relatively sharp descent down the side of the valley that runs between Leith Hill and Hill 288.

Here the lane gets a little challenging. It's relatively rutted, but by no means dramatically so, and therefore care must be taken to ensure your wheels are taking a safe path. This job is more complex than sounds as, towards it's southern end, the lane takes a series of constrained right turns, before turning left so sharply that it took us two attempts to make it! This 180 degree turn could be quite confusing: the lane appears to finish in a staked-off area with no obvious way out, that is until you look way back over your left shoulder! (see pic, right. It's steeper than it looks.) Down the hill, the lane ends where it meets Abinger Road, just near Cockshot Farm.

This is not a lane to attempt in very wet, wintry conditions. You will, like any mud hole of a hillclimb, definitely get stuck on the mud and wet leaves. Sliding back down out of control will not be popular with the myriad of families, ramblers, dog walkers, NT members and cyclists who use the route regularly! Honestly, this is a very busy area on a weekend. If you want to drive it, do it during a dry spell and on a weekday.

Whilst you're here, check out the gothic 18th century tower on Leith Hill, a folly constructed on top of the hightest point in south-east England. The views are simply astounding.

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