The county of Surrey sits in the south-east of England, bordered by Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Greater London.


Despite being home to 1.2 million people, Surrey has the highest proportional coverage of woodland (22.4%) of all the English counties. Such a wealth of trees makes autumn in Surrey particularly special, as the county flushes red, orange and yellow.

The virtues of this county are many, and winter, spring and summer present further opportunities for exploration; a host of hills - including the dominant North Downs chalk ridge - along with wending rivers and gorgeous lowland heath.

There are hundreds a walking trails in Surrey, each with its own special lure. Here are a few of our favourites to help inspire your next adventure.

Forest near Godalming in Surrey
Autumn forest near Godalming in Surrey/Credit: Getty

Walks in Surrey

St Martha’s Hill, Surrey

4.6 miles/7.4km | 3 hours | moderate

St Martha’s Hill in surrey on a sunny day
The Church of St Martha sits on the summit of St Martha’s Hill/Credit: Getty

Genteel Guildford might not seem a location for much wilderness, but St Martha’s Hill offers a chance to feel at one with one of the most spectacular wild landscapes of Britain – the High Weald.

Once a dense and dangerous forest with difficult terrain and treacherous roads, the High Weald was best avoided, which is why pilgrims took the high and dry roadway along the North Downs. Today the Pilgrim’s Way and North Downs Way coincide for only short stretches, and the climb to St Martha’s Hill is one of the best. The tracks are well maintained, so you should avoid a quagmire even on a soggy November day.

Chobham Common, Surrey

5 miles/8km | 3 hours | easy-moderate

Summer at Chobham Common in Surrey
Chobham Common comprises 574 hectares of the vast lowland heaths/Credit: Getty

Chobham Common luxuriates in the honour of being the largest national nature reserve in south-east England. But its 574 hectares are a fragment of the vast lowland heaths that once dominated this landscape from East Anglia, through Surrey into West Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset.

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Today, the flagship reserve of Chobham Common is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust. Conservation work may appear stark as scrub is cleared and trees felled, but this large-scale intervention is necessary to keep Chobham one of the finest remaining lowland heaths in the world.

Red squirrel

Bramley, Surrey

6.5 miles/10.5km | 4 hours | easy

Jolly Farmer pub, Bramley
The walk starts and ends at the Jolly Farmer pub, Bramley/Credit: Geograph

The deep holloways that lend this route its character are little worlds of enchantment, alive with birdsong, the skittering of squirrels, and leaves unfurling with almost audible vigor.

Ancient, sun-dappled and – thanks to deep layers of litter – delightfully springy underfoot, these paths are incredibly atmospheric.

Box Hill, Surrey

Box Hill, Surrey
Box Hill in summer/Credit: Getty

“I like this place very much,” noted poet John Keats during his stay by Box Hill – who are we to disagree? This National Trust site, named for the box trees on its flanks, has long been popular as a fresh-air escape.

Even Jane Austen’s Emma day-tripped here. You can see why – the views of the undulating downs are worth the steep climb, while the nearby countryside, dotted with grand estates and verdant vines, is a joy to explore.

Polesden Lacey, Surrey

Polesden Lacey, Surrey
Polesden Lacey, Surrey/Credit: National Trust Images

This 1,400 acre estate on the North Downs, nestled among the Surrey Hills, is rightly classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A short drive from Dorking, Polesden Lacey was once the country residence of Edwardian socialite Margaret Greville and is now being preserved in her unique style by the National Trust.

Whether you arrive by road, rail or foot, you cannot fail to be impressed by the stunning views over the Surrey Hills.

Days out in Surrey

Waverley Abbey, Surrey

Waverley Abbey, Surrey
In the 12th century, Waverley Abbey was home to 70 monks and 120 lay brothers/Credit: Getty

The grandeur of Waverley’s glory days takes some imagining – the church itself was almost 91 metres long. There was also a cloister, an infirmary and, to the east, the abbot’s lodgings. However, the monks’ dormitory walls still stand, along with substantial parts of the chapter house. Look, too, for the earthwork remains of the fishponds that once kept the monks fed. Not surprisingly, these striking ruins have starred in numerous films, including Hot Fuzz and Elizabeth.

Across the river, you’ll also see Waverley Abbey House, which was built in 1723 on the edge of the abbey precinct. This was the first country house in England to be converted into a military hospital following the outbreak of the First World War, when an estimated 5,000 soldiers were cared for here.



Daniel Graham of COuntryfile magazine on a hike with wet hair and blue coat and hills in background
Daniel GrahamOutdoors editor, BBC Countryfile Magazine

Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.