The Surrey Hills AONB covers 422 km2 (163 mi2) of chalk grasslands, heathlands and deciduous woodland which span Surrey in south east England. Designated in 1958, the Hills AONB stretches across a quarter of the county and includes the chalk slopes of the North Downs from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east; and extends south to the densely wooded Greensand Hills which rise in Haslemere.
Common plant life includes bracken and bramble. Animals found on Surrey Hills include the adder, deer, fox, jay magpie, whinchat and woodlark. On Box Hill there’s a chance of seeing the Adonis blue butterfly and bee orchid.
The AONB is very popular with visitors as it is easily accessible from London and its major suburbs.
As well as an extensive network of footpaths and open commons, three long distance walks run through the Surrey Hills: the North Downs Way, the Greensand Way and the Pilgrims’ Way.
Cycling is a great way to see and experience the AONB, and there are a range of different circular cycling routes through the Surrey Hills, including part of the 2012 Olympic Cycle route around Box Hill. The area is also a regional centre for mountain biking, with the Greensands Hills of Leith Hill and the Hurtwood areas in particular offering some of the country’s best terrain for off-road cycling.
There are a range of other activities in the area, from llama trekking to visiting museums, woodland parks and National Trust properties.
Although Surrey is the most urbanized county of England, 84% of its area is still countryside.