How foreign friends can help us appreciate the Surrey countryside even more

Surrey Hills Society

Surrey Hills Society - Credit: Archant

The chairman of the Surrey Hills Society, Chris Howard, on how foreign friends can help us to appreciate the beauty of our stunning countryside all the more...

I have recently had the great pleasure of meeting the first Swedish members of the Surrey Hills Society.

They were staying in Dorking and discovered our society was doing a walk up Leith Hill and decided to join us. They had such a wonderful time that they have now returned to Surrey only a few months later because they were so excited by the number of footpaths, beautiful views, pubs to visit and places to see.

Their faces, when we drove into the main street of the rural village of Shere, were a picture. They lingered over the gorgeous views at Newlands Corner and Box Hill and they enjoyed our local wines and beers. They also loved their train ride from Dorking to Guildford, to see the beautiful cobbled High Street and that amazing clock built in 1683 that hangs, almost defying gravity, over the pavement below.

They were also impressed by the number of National Trust properties here in Surrey for them to visit. In Sweden, they do not have a voluntary organisation like the National Trust. Apparently, they do get many of our English TV series, including Downton Abbey, and were impressed with how they could access all our beautiful historic homes as they had seen on TV.

Seeing their enthusiasm for the Surrey Hills has reinvigorated me to continue to work on promoting and protecting this incredible landscape. I would also like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the army of volunteers that work so hard to support the National Trust, the Surrey Wildlife Trust and all the other organisations that work across the Surrey Hills to keep this place both special and accessible to all.

Thank you also to my new Swedish friends for reminding me how privileged I am to live in this special landscape. This, in turn, has highlighted to me how important it is for my generation to make sure it is still here for the next generation to enjoy.

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For more information about joining the Surrey Hills Society, pay a visit to their website at


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