21 Apr – 6 Miles
Ranmore/Denbies Hillside looking west south west
The valley was carpeted in gold And fresh green of new leafed trees Framed the crops, food for bees. Man and nature, Beautiful mixture, A wonder to behold.
Rapeseed field looking north west towards Pickett’s Hole (North Downs)
The English landscape has been shaped by humans for millennia. Although once completely wooded, humans cleared trees from the North Downs to provide pasture for their livestock. While this work changed the natural landscape, it created a mixed habitat allowing for diverse sets of animals, plants, and insects to make the hills their home. The mix of woodland and open fields allow a walker to encounter many different types of plants and animals on a relatively short walk. Without the balance of human endeavour and nature’s tenacity, the North Downs wouldn’t be as richly romantic as it is.
Pilgrims Way Trackway looking towards Dorking (18/04/19)
While you never feel far from civilisation in the Surrey Hills, there is a beautiful sense of space created by the balance of town and country. The towns and villages are shrouded in trees creating a mixed tapestry comprised of the straight lines of buildings and the soft, feathery shapes of trees. One is enriched by the contrast to the other. Often, only rooftops can be seen amongst the greenery in and around towns making the local churches the most prominent features seen from the hillside.
Denbies looking toward Box Hill (14/04/19)
We often think of humanity’s dominance over nature; how we control our environment to suit our needs. Dorking and the Surrey Hills tell me a different story. Denbies Wine Estate is a great example of this. The defined rows of vines are curved by the landscape creating a swell of human order, creating natural buoyancy. The straight poles are far outnumbered by the many twisting trunks of the vines. As much as human design attempts to make everything logical and neat, nature resists and asserts her control over us.
unum/Milton Court from Pilgrims Way Trackway (18/04/19)
There is something special in the balance I feel when walking in the Surry Hills that I’ve not felt elsewhere. Here, humans don’t seem to be fighting against nature. The AONB protections prevent the hillside from being developed into multimillion pound homes. Vast tracts of woodland aren’t being cut down to make more room for agriculture. The balance created long ago has been maintained. Additionally, the balance between work and play is noticeable. You can get out of the bustling town, into the woods and hills, and back again quickly and easily. If you are lucky enough to live here, this can be done without getting in your car. Even if you live in London, an hour train ride can take you to the foot of Box Hill.
Ranmore/Denbies Hillside looking towards Dorking (19/04/19)
See you out in the hills!