The Octavia Hill Trail


Nourishing soup to set me up for the afternoon’s walk

Lovely Winkworth Arboretum is very near Godalming and I’ve visited lots of times this year. It’s one of Oliver (pug)’s favourite places and we both enjoy our walks there. There’s something for both of us. My attention was drawn to two other nearby sites – a walk and a house to visit. In fact it is possible to walk from Winkworth Arboretum to Oakhurst Cottage and include part of the Octavia Hill Trail en route. On my last Saturday in Surrey I decided to visit both but after a fortifying lunch at Winkworth I drove to Hydon’s Heath for the trail and then on to Oakhurst Cottage for a guided tour.

In 2012 I walked the Octavia Hill Centenary Trail in Kent where she lived and is buried. I wrote about it here.


Octavia Hill Trail

Start: Hydon’s Ball and Heath car park OS map reference SU979402

From the car park, near the notice board, follow the Octavia Hill sign down a narrow wooded path.


Our trail is easy to follow with clear signs along the way. [This is true – it’s one of the easiest routes to follow]


Continue walking through the woods lined with pine and sweet chestnut trees.

Wander along the path and enjoy the peace and quiet of the woods. Listen out for the creatures that live here…

The trees begin to thin out and on your left there’re open fields. Turn right and begin climbing up the hill (fairly steep). The view is worth it…


You’ve reached the top, one of the highest points in Surrey, and can now enjoy the wonderful views looking south towards Black Down and the South Downs (this is about 20mins walk from the start of the trail).


Take a moment to read our information board and find out more about Hydon’s Ball and Heath.


Hydon’s Ball was the name given to this site when a signal station was positioned here. Signal stations were used to synchronize the time visually at certain points during the day across long distances.”


At the top too is a stone seat memorial to one of our co-founders, Octavia Hill, who died in 1912.


This Land was given in Memory of Octavia Hill 1915

Octavia Hill Memorial : Hydon’s Ball and Heath was bought in 1915-1926 in memory of the social reformer Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust. A friend Harriot Yorke and her sister Emily purchased and secured the land until the Octavia Hill Memorial Committee was formed.

Following the waymarkers and head downhill until you reach the Robertson Memorial.



Robertson Memorial

Part of Hydon’s Ball and Heath was given to us in 1959 by the W A Robertson Memorial Fund. William Alexander Robertson lost his two younger brothers in the First World War and when he died in 1937 he left a bequest for us to commemorate them. In accordance with his wishes this memorial was erected.

Continue down the marked path, along the fence (uneven path), and then turn right back through the woods and onto the car park.





2 comments on “The Octavia Hill Trail

  1. Fran says:

    You certainly made the most of your trip to Surrey! Do you ever have a rest day?

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