Mole Valley Area Guide

Sweeping dramatic countryside including much of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the backdrop to historic and picturesque towns and stunning, heart-warming villages.

Dorking and Leatherhead are the twin towns of the Surrey Hills, and Ashtead and Bookham are just a stone’s throw from central London yet sounds of nature surround you and communities thrive.  Life in Mole Valley is ideal for those who enjoy the outdoors, yet there is a vibrancy that oozes throughout its centre.

Taking its name from the River Mole that flows through the length of the district, the Mole Valley covers an area of a hundred square miles, 90% of which is stunning countryside.  Running across the middle of the district is the North Downs. Opened in 1978, the North Downs Way runs the 153 miles from Farnham to Dover, offering those who venture the whole of this National Trail some spectacular views.

A favourite destination of the Victorians, Leith Hill, set within the gorgeous Surrey Hills, is the highest point in Southeast England. Take one of the trails and discover the deliciously fragrant Rhododendron Wood or walk through the ancient woods. Standing majestically on the horizon is the gothic Leith Hill Tower; climb the 74 steps and you can enjoy the breathtaking views towards the English Channel and London. It was built by Richard Hill in 1765 as a place for people to delight in the ‘glory of the English Countryside’.

Another treasure of Mole Valley has to be the historic Box Hill, which was celebrated by author Jane Austen in her book, Emma.  A summit within the North Downs and around 19 miles from London, Box Hill get its name from the ancient box woodland that is situated on the steepest west-facing slopes, which overlook the River Mole.  Part of the hill is now owned and managed by The National Trust. Take a walk to the top where you can enjoy some of Surrey’s finest panoramic views or take a stroll along the gentler circular walk.

Polesden Lacey is a grand Edwardian country retreat where Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, spent her honeymoon and remarked, ‘This is a delicious house.’  The gardens alone are outstanding, and it really is one of the jewels in the Mole Valley crown, together with Denbies Wine Estate, England’s largest vineyard, which with its acres and acres of vines decorating the Surrey Hills, is a truly captivating sight.

The area’s rich heritage is evident throughout the architectural landscape, and there are a wealth of cultural events and activities to keep you entertained, plus an abundance of bars, restaurants, and cafes for you to sample. Approximately 72% of the population of Mole Valley lives within the towns and villages of Leatherhead, Bookham, Fetcham, Ashtead, and Dorking.

Situated to the north of Dorking, the extraordinary landscape of the Downland Villages of Mickleham, Westhumble and Headley only add to the area’s special appeal. The village of Headley with its heath, rolling grass slopes and woodland was even mentioned in the Domesday Book back in the 11th century. Mickleham, nestled below Box Hill, is home to some of the finest houses in the region, including the oldest building, the Parish Church of St Michael, and Juniper Hall, which was built in 1780.

It is also exceptionally well located, due to easy access to central London via train lines with direct routes from local train stations, plus the proximity to the A24 and M25 for travel by road throughout the south, towards the coast and onwards to the north. For international travel, you will be pleased to know that Gatwick Airport is also close by.

Come and explore the area in more detail with our guides to Ashtead, Bookham, Dorking, and Leatherhead. We look forward to helping you make the Mole Valley your home.

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