The National Trust owns and manages thousands of acres around Coldharbour, including the sites of the Memorial Ground, village pond and Coldharbour Common, cricket pitch, Leith Hill Tower and Leith Hill Place. There are rangers for Leith Hill, Holmwood Common, Ranmore and Westcott, contact details below.
Leith Hill Tower:
At 1029 feet (314 ms) this is the highest point in the south of England. Tickets, at £1.50 for adults and 80p for children, can be purchased from the servery to climb up to the roof in a 78 step spiral staircase, for magnificent views across thirteen counties. Two information rooms half way up have had a complete makeover so do come and have a look. It can be reached with a moderately steep walk from the Landslip, Windy Gap, Rhododendron Wood or Starveall Corner car-parks around Leith Hill or by a fourty-five minute leisurely hike from the centre of Coldharbour. Volunteers have constructed oak benches for visitors to rest in comfort. There are four waymarked trails centred on the Tower one of which goes to Leith Hill Place and passes by The Green Escape glamping holiday accommodation.
The Servery: Under the management of Julie Day from Tanhouse Farm Shop serving delicious homemade cakes, sandwiches, hot pasties, soup and sausage rolls along with fruit drinks, real coffee and fair-trade tea in proper china mugs, to consume on-site or take away. The opening times are 10 - 3, full details can be found here or call 01306 712434.
History: Originally called Prospect House or Tower, it was built in 1765 by Richard Hull who lived at nearby Leith Hill Place. The eccentric Georgian built the folly based on a typical 14th century Wealden Tower, he was buried underneath it, see this article. Many hollows can be seen in the nearby slopes and it is thought that the materials needed to build the Tower were quarried on site. In 1796 extensive refurbishments were commissioned by Mr William Perrin in order to increase the height to over 1000 feet. The Tower became a delapidated shell over the next period until 1864 when Mr W Evelyn of nearby Wotton House funded the reopening and built the upper room and added the battlements. It was donated to the National Trust in 1923 by Mr W J MacAndrew and was adopted in 1966 as a Grade II listed building by English Heritage. The tower was fully restored in 1984 which included the removal of rubble and concrete, fitting safety features such as a handrail besides the narrow staircase and converting the lower portion of the tower into a servery. During this work Richard Hull's tomb was discovered dispelling any rumours that he had never been there at all.
If you have ideas as to how the Tower or surroundings can be improved or you would like to donate to its upkeep then please contact the local rangers.
Leith Hill Place:
An imposing country house with magnificent views from upper floors. Home to composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and connections with Wedgwood family. It is an elegant early 17th-century property, which was added to and improved in the 18th century by Lieutenant-General John Folliot. In 1754 it was sold to Richard Hull, a Bristol merchant, who built Leith Hill Tower. After he died in 1772 the house was owned by various people, including a Reverend Rusden who ran it as a school.
The building is currently closed for extensive refurbishment.
National Trust Contacts:
24-hour EMERGENCY line 01372 540221
Ranger, Leith Hill - Charlotte Eley. Office: 01306 712711, Email
Ranger, Leith Hill - Jon Webb. Office: 01306 712711, Mobile: 07785 771509, Email
Leith Hill Team - Email
Ranger, Holmwood Common - Ella Brasington. Office: 01306 712711, Mobile: 07977 065400, Email
Ranger, Netley Park, Denbies and Abinger Roughs - Tom Burns. Westcott Office: 01306 887485 / 640062, Mobile: 07484 088875, Email
Lead Ranger, Central Surrey Hills including Leith Hill, Holmwood, Westcott, Ranmore, Denbies, Abinger Roughs, Bookham, Limpsfield, Harewoods, Netley Park and Blackheath - Henry Barnard. Mobile: 07769 283374, Email
Central Surrey Hills Team - Email
North Downs West Team - Email
General Manager, Surrey Hills - Stephanie Fudge. Office: 01372 220641, Mobile: 07770 887684, Email
Leith Hill Place - Office: 01306 711685, Email
Leith Hill Tower Servery - 01306 712434