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Leith Hill

If you have a taste for hill walking you might find the pickings pretty slim in Thurrock. There is of course Langdon Hills but even that becomes rather unsatisfying after a while, the Lake District, despite its mighty eminence and genuine facility for proper hill walking is of course not a day trip. Leith Hill in Surrey however is. It's not a mountain walk of any sort but is a genuinely steep and high prominence. The hill rises 294 meters above seas level at its highest point, and by the look of some of the views you feel every inch of it (you almost feel, if you squint, you could see the coast or France even). It's the second highest peak in the south east of England, Walbury Hill in Hungerford holds the title at (298 metre) But Leith is a historic as well beauty spot, it is here that Ethelwal of Wessex (father of Alfred the Great – the King who defeated all the Viking in the 8th Century) it's here that his dad also took on and beat the living daylights out of the hordes of invading Danes al-be-it a more modest number, than his son.
In commemoration to these conflicts the nobles of the area (a chap called Richard Hull) built what is now known as Leith Tower in the 17th Century. Really just a glorified lookout as this offers a view stretching nearly all the way to the English channel (we were told you could see it on a clear day – but alas we could not) it's an impressive cherry on top of the cake so to speak as it really looks and feels as old as it is, and consists of 2 rooms still decked out in the old mid-evil Latin style of the time of its construction of 1756. But if you are here it's not really for the history, this is one of those beauty spots that makes the journey worthwhile and with Dorking nearby (just 4 miles drive) there is the pleasure on offer to stroll through a pretty small town and find plenty of snacks and caffeine opportunities if you please.

RH5 6LS - Starveall Corner Car Park on Leith Hill Rd - nice walk to the tower
RH5 6LU - Rhododendron Wood - best to visit in May

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