Leith Hill Tower
Coldharbour, near Dorking, in Surrey
What should you do
with a hill that is just 965 feet high?
That was the challenge facing Richard Hull in the 18th Century.
Hull (of nearby Leith Hill Place) decided that he wanted his hill
to exceed the 'magic' 1000 feet.
Leith Hill Tower was built by Hull in 1765, and at a height in
excess of 60 feet achieved what he set out to do. The highest
point in Southeast England, it offers views as far as St.
Paul's Cathedral in London to the north, and the English
Channel to the south.
Hull was buried beneath the Gothic Tower in 1772; unconfirmed
reports claimed that he was interred vertically - head downwards!
The original tower did not include the turreted structure
adjoining (this was added around 100 years later).
Today Leith Hill Tower, and some of the surrounding woodland, is
owned and maintained by the National Trust. There are excellent
views in almost every direction; at least one of these would have
been a complete surprise to Hull, since it is now possible to
look down upon aircraft rising slowly from Gatwick Airport some
eight miles away.
The Tower is open to visitors on most weekends. There are a
couple of good walks in the surrounding woods.