Leith Hill Tower
At 1029 feet (314 ms), the top of the tower is the highest point in the south of England. Tickets, at £1.50 for adults and 80p for children, can be purchased from the National Trust servery to climb up the 78 step spiral staircase to the roof for magnificent views across thirteen counties, members are free. The entry fee also entitles you to a panorama leaflet and a pencil and celebratory 250th birthday badge for children.
The Tower 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 around the base of the Tower for visitors to rest in comfort. The two information rooms have now had a complete makeover, do come and have a look.
Servery: It is under the management of Julie Day from Tanhouse Farm Shop, Newdigate 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 (later in fine weather) are 10 - 3 during the week and 9 - 5 at weekends and bank holidays, full details can be found here.
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.
National Trust Contacts:
Area Ranger, Leith Hill, Rhododendron Wood and Estate - Sophie Parker. Office: 01306 712711, Mobile: 07785 771509
Area Ranger, Holmwood Common and Henman Bunkhouse - Rob Adam. Office: 01306 712711, Mobile: 07901 511359
Lead Ranger, Leith Hill and Holmwood Common - Nicky Scott. Office: 01306 712711, Mobile: 07484 088875
Visitor Operations Manager, Leith Hill Place - Gabrielle Gale. Office: 01306 711685, Mobile: 07795 256657
Countryside Manager, Surrey Hills West - Paul Redsell. Office: 01306 711777, Mobile: 07770 887675
General Manager, Surrey Hills - Stephanie Fudge. Office: 01372 220641, Mobile: 07770 887684