Secret Surrey: 11 hidden and fascinating places you might not have seen before

Secret Surrey: 11 hidden and fascinating places you might not have seen before

Deep in the heart of the Surrey’s countryside, towns and villages are places and sights you may not have seen before.

From a cascading waterfall and a cute bridge to a windmill, castle ruins and even the normally hidden inner shell of a burned manor house these are places whose secrets are generally hidden from prying eyes.

Perhaps their location is out of view from passers-by – you might know it exists but aren’t sure where.

Or maybe it is a building you can see easily from the main road but are not often able to explore inside.

Exploring Surrey

In no particular order, we list 11 fascinating places in Surrey with amazing secrets you might not have seen before.

1. Waterfall on the Wotton Estate near Broadmoor

You can see this beautiful waterfall from the public footpath

Deep in the Surrey Hills nestled on the Wotton Estate and south east of the tiny hamlet of Friday Street is a stunning cascading waterfall.

It is on the private land of the Wotton Estate, so you mustn’t climb over the fence to approach it, but you can clearly admire it and take photos from the public footpath.

To find it, take the footpath which follows a track north from Whiteberry Road opposite the livery. You will come across the waterfall about 200 yards after crossing the Tillingbourne River.

2. The Shell Bridge

Shell Bridge links two islands on the River Mole, Leatherhead

This cute little hump-backed bridge links two islands on the River Mole between Town Bridge and Thorncroft Bridge.

You might spot it but you can’t get to it though because it is on the private land of the Thorncroft Estate.

But the flint bridge is Grade II listed and believed to date from the 18th century, having been built as an ornamental feature in the grounds.

It gets its name from the scallop shell at the peak of its arch used instead of a keystone.

3. Lowfield Heath Windmill, Russ Hill Road, Charlwood

Lowfield Heath Windmill is a mile from Gatwick’s runway

Drive around the country lanes towards Charlwood and you might be taken back to spot this picturesque white windmill about a mile from the end of Gatwick runway.

The postmill, originally built at Lowfield Heath in 1737/8, was dismantled, repaired and rebuilt on the edge of Charlwood village. It has three floors with machinery inside and a small visitor centre in the roundhouse.

A charitable trust funds its upkeep.

Open days have been hosted at the windmill in the past but none have been scheduled on the website for this year yet.

You can find out more at

4. Betchworth Castle, near Castle Gardens off Reigate Road, Betchworth

Owner Martin Higgins bought Betchworth Castle for £1

The site of the ruined Betchworth Castle, not far from the busy A25, could date back to the Iron Age. What was a country house was turned into what we would consider a proper castle in the 14th century.

In the 18th century the castle was refurbished back to a country house. But in the 19th century it was stripped of its non-Medieval looking features and allowed to become a ruin.

The ruin was bought from Mole Valley District Council for £1 in 2011 by Martin Higgins who sourced grants to make the ruin safe.

More money to improve access around the site and maintain it is needed. The ruined castle remains on the Historic England “at risk” register because of the danger a big oak tree poses to part of the ruins if it were to blow over.

The site is freely open to the public during the day. You can get to it using the signposted route from near the sign for Betchworth Park Golf Club.

5. The bare bones of Clandon Park House, West Clandon, Guildford

You will be able to see inside Clandon House via a special walkway

Reduced to a shell, the fire which engulfed the magnificent National Trust house has revealed secrets about its construction and hidden artefacts which are being discovered as the mammoth restoration work goes on.

There was the only piece of needlework to have escaped the fire and water, which was found stored in a box under the State Bed. Meanwhile rings on the ancient timbers suggest the construction dates of the house.

Clandon House is going to be open from later this spring on Thursdays to Sundays from March 29 until October 28 plus bank holiday Mondays, when visitors will be able to access it via a special walkway and see the bare bones of the building for themselves before they are covered up again as it restored.

This year, 2018, will be the last year visitors have unfettered access via safe walkways to the inside of the building to see what is going on before reconstruction work begins and access becomes much more limited.

From Saturday March 10, each weekend you’ll be able to enjoy the magnificent sight of a traditional Clandon springtime with thousands of daffodils bursting into bloom. Look out for a pictorial trail which will guide you through the garden, using historic images to whisk you back in time.

You can watch fascinating videos about the work going on and find out exact opening dates and times you can visit

6. Unseen rooms at Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham

Polesden Lacey is unlocking more rooms previously unseen by the public

You may have seen the grand downstairs rooms at the National Trust house of Polesden and ventured upstairs to Mrs Grenville’s apartment which has been opened to the public. But what lies behind all the closed doors and other windows you see along the way?

The National Trust is continuing to unlock more rooms in the house at Polesden Lacey, including guest bedrooms, corridors and the King’s Suite. This involves structural work and more money to restore the rooms and will take some years to do.

In the meantime there are tours every afternoon, giving a preview of these spaces while the work is in progress and you will be able to see rooms that have never been open to the public before. Tours start promptly at 2.15pm from the front of the house and are about one hour long. There are spaces for ten people per tour.

You can find out more at

7. The Cranston Library, St Mary Magdalene Church, Windermere Way, Reigate

Started in 1701, this is possibly the first lending library in England and survives intact in a small chamber above the vestry of St Mary’s Church.

It isn’t normally open to the public but opens for the Heritage Open Days event each September and everyone is invited to join the trustees of the library for the annual Cranston Lecture in October.

8. Broadwood Folly, Box Hill

Broadwood Tower stands on Box Hill

Down the end of a track not far from Zig Zag Road is this old tower looking the stunning views of the valley below Box Hill.

Broadwood Tower is a folly at Box Hill, looked after by the National Trust. It was built on Lodge Hill by Thomas Broadwood, a member of the well-known piano manufacturing family, some time after he bought Juniper Hall in 1815.

The tower is empty inside and you can’t go in it but you can walk up to it and admire the views. You can find it by following the Happy Valley Circular Walk, which is Box Hill website at

9. Divers Cove, North Park Lane, Godstone

Divers Cove looks beautiful even in winter and is preparing to open for the new season

Off the A25 is an old sand quarry with a beautiful seven acre lake.

This is Divers Cove and is used by scuba divers and open water swimmers and you can be forgiven for not knowing it exists.

But you can’t just turn up and jump into its gorgeous green waters in for a swim. You pay £10 a year to join and £5 for each swim and you need to take a safety assessment if you are new to Divers Cove. When it’s cold you’ll want a wet suit.

The changing rooms and café are currently being renovated ready for the 2018 season.

It aims to open when the water reaches 10 – 12c which is usually sometime between end of March and end of April.

You can find more about it on its Facebook page.

10. Lovelace Mausoleum, St Martin’s Churchyard, Ockham Road South, East Horsley

The Lovelace Mausoleum, East Horsley

Inside the Grade II listed building is a tall vault with a brick dome

Steps lead down to where the Earl of Lovelace, who died in 1893 and his second wife Jane, who died in 1908, remain.

It was restored to its original splendour in 2008 and the public have been able to go inside and see it on Heritage Open Days in September.

11. Henley Fort, The Mount, Guildford

Henley Fort is now and education and outdoor centre

This Victorian Fort is hidden away from the casual view of passers-by beyond the trees which line the road.

It was built during the late 19th century to protect London from invasion by the French and later used by the Home Guard in the Second World War as a re-supply depot.

Today it is a Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development (SOLD) centre where groups can take part in challenging activities or a living historical experience.

It has stunning views across the Thames Valley and on a clear day you can see London.

Henley Fort has featured in Heritage Open Days weekends in September, allowing the public to discover it for themselves.

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Article courtesy of Get Surrey