Venture into Box Hill's past

Box Hill's Fort is one of a line of 13 along the North Downs © National Trust

Box Hill's Fort is one of a line of 13 along the North Downs

For hundreds of years, Box Hill has been a popular tourist site. It became more popular in 1849 when the Victorian train line opened, making Box Hill more easily accessible from London. The Donkey Green takes its name from the donkey rides that used to be offered for 'tuppence.'

Box Hill's history is still visible in places. Bronze Age burial mounds (Tumuli) still remain, alongside the remnants of Celtic field margins, and rabbit warrens from Box Hill's farming days. A Roman road (Stane Street) runs by Mickleham Downs. 

Box Hill and the National Trust
In 1914 Leopold Salomons gave the original 230 acres of the Box Hill site to the National Trust.  His aim was to preserve Box Hill for the nation, as an open access countryside site for everyone to enjoy. The previous owners had plans to turn the top of Box Hill into a housing estate.

Defending Box Hill
The Old Fort was one of 13 built along the North Downs. They were built in the 1890s as mobilisation centres.  Collectively known as the London Defence Scheme, they were considered ‘the last ditch attempt to save the capital of the world's largest Empire.’  The Fort has never been used in battle and is now a roost for bats.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can cross the River Mole at the Stepping Stones.  These were removed during the Second World War, to prevent invading forces crossing the river.  More evidence of the area's recent military history can still be seen, including pill-boxes and tank-traps.