CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Beast of Box Hill

PUBLISHED: 13:20 09 March 2011 | UPDATED: 21:46 07 October 2014

A truly riveting read, Beast of Box Hill, left all at the office dying to know whether this contribution from Tadworth resident Lena Walton was fact or fiction. What do you think?

Eight years of living on the hill and I have only seen this creature twice. The first time I was driving back up from a night out with friends. As I drove up the zigzag everything seemed normal. There was a faint late summer mist hanging low in the branches, but even that was not a reason to expect that anything untoward was about to happen. I had taken the second bend in the road when from down the bank a creature jumped and stood in the middle of the road. I stopped and stared through the windscreen at what looked like a wolf. It had the same lopping stance as one, but I knew in my head it was not possible. This was Surrey and although Boxhill was home to lots of wildlife, a badger was probably the most exciting thing you would see. I continued to state and caught its eyes, they were the shape of almonds and the colour of amber, it had to be a wolf. The long muzzle and the shaggy grey coloured fur. Was I so tired that I was not hallucinating? Suddenly the creature lunged toward the other side of the road, and as quickly as it had come down the bank; it disappeared into dense trees, further down. I sat in the car staring into the foliage hoping O would catch another glimpse of it but deep down I knew it had gone. I continued up the hill to my home. Just what on earth had I seen? The sight of that creature remained indelibly marked in my psyche.

I knew every inch of the hill. I hiked out every chance I got. I knew where all the badger sets were. I knew when there were fox cubs down on the donkey green. I followed the flight of the bats nesting in the old unused fort.  Saw the roe deer down by the old brick kilns. There would be no way that a creature like that would escape my notice.  I had spent time tracking in South Africa and had been taught how to spot wildlife, how to spot changed in the landscape that would reveal a cheetah or even rarer a leopard. I had not noticed anything untoward up here.

The National Trust had sheep grazing on the open slopes and an animal like a wolf would need to eat and sheep would be its ideal prey. Yet there had been no reports of attacks. And no half devoured carcasses had been found. That time of year-midsummer there were numerous day trippers to the hill and almost every inch would have been trampled upon, it would not have been able to hide. I reluctantly deduced that no, the mist had been playing tricks on me or perhaps tiredness from holding down two jobs had overtaken, yet the eyes seemed so real so wolf like.

Years went by and although I never forgot the appearance of the creature. I felt I would never see him again. The one autumnal say I saw him.

November was a glorious month for the fall up on the hill. I walked out on e Sunday to clear my head after the rather boozy drinking session the night before with some friends. O decided I would take the long walk that could be considered quite a challenge, which consisted of Box Hill, Mickleham Downs and Headly Heath. A good five-six hour walk, which would definitely work off a hangover.

Because the weather was so damp there did not seem to be that many hikers and of that I was relived. I am very much a solitary walker. As I walked up Juniper Hill, my heart started to pump and I was working up quite a sweat. I paused at one point to catch my breath. I could see through the russet colour of leaves a dark shape, an animal. I was immediately thinking roe deer, crouching down as low as I could I crept nearer and nearer.

It must have smelt me, because the creature looked up, it was no roe deer; I stared into the amber eyes of a wolf. For a split second we both were motionless. This was incredible; here I was in Surrey face to face with what was most definitely a wolf. His size confirmed my thoughts; he was slightly bigger then a German shepherd dog. I just couldn’t believe it. I gazed at the magnificent creature literally spellbound.

Suddenly the animal turned his body and with one agile jump was gone into the lower foliage of the golden beach tress. I stood back up to an upright position and looked around me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw hikers coming up the hill. Sitting down on a large upturned tree I drank from my water flask, trying to show my nonchalance as the two figures approached. The man and the woman politely acknowledged me and continued on their way toward where I had spotted the wolf.

As I followed the same route as the hikers, I looked down the slope and I saw a slight break in the landscape, a strange dark hump in the grass. Veering off the path I walked towards it, it was the partially eaten remains of a dear. I breathed in. This confirmed even more that there was a strange creature out here and he or she was very good at hiding of that much it was obvious. Two sightings in eight years! Would I have to wait another eight years to see him again?

I prayed that he would remain undetected, that none of the other enthusiastic nature lovers like me would spot him. And suddenly rather like the Loch Ness Monster, or Saskatchewan Man there would be wolf enthusiasts camping out with all their tracking gear and huge camera, desperate for a glimpse of the secretive animal.

From that day, my walks have been taken nearer to evening, when all the day trippers have packed up their picnic paraphernalia in their cars and descended down the hill. Would I ever get another glimpse of the allusive animal? Somehow I thought no, not again soon, anyway. Sometimes on a warm summers evening, walking back from the lookout post I hear rustling in the trees alongside of me and a low growl. I stop to peer in at where the noise is coming from, but I know in my heart it will only appear again when it is ready. For now I content myself in the knowledge that there is a strange wolf like creature living here and no one else knows about him. Yet.

***

Share your own Surrey themed poetry and prose by e-mailing feedback@surreylife.co.uk

2 comments

  • Nice one Lena. Hope all is well with you.

    Add your comment |

    AnthonyLunn79

    Friday, April 30, 2010

  • I see this article is almost a year old now but I just had to comment, I think I saw this animal as well! It was in the summer 2005 I googled it at the time and found nothing so just thought what I saw could only have been a stray dog, and at the time thought like you a german Shepard but deep down I knew it looked bigger and didn't move quite like a dog and I said to my girlfriend maybe it was a wolf.But i forgot all about it until I was watching a documentry programme that reminded me about that night and made me google it again and I'm convinced it's exactly the same animal and I'm not going mad!!

    Add your comment |

    Veed3779

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More from Out & About

50 minutes ago

From its controversial cathedral and setted (not cobbled!) High Street to its indpendent shops and riverside location, Surrey’s county town ticks a lot of boxes

Read more
Friday, December 8, 2017

Enjoy Surrey all year...

Read more
Monday, December 4, 2017

Guildford Fringe Theatre Company is back again with another risqué panto strictly for the over 18s from the Back Room of the Star Inn.

Read more
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Enjoy a delightful two mile heath and woodland walk around this country park, which recently achieved the highest rating from Natural England. A must for all the family – both two and four-legged!

Read more
Monday, November 20, 2017

Surrey is a county full of festive delights. Think cosy pubs, frosty views and long winter walks. We pick 22 wonderful reasons to spend Christmas in Surrey.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Surrey is England’s most wooded county and the Surrey Hills boasts almost 40 per cent woodland cover. These woodlands hide a wealth of archaeological features. We pick some of the best woodland walks to explore

Read more
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Surrey has been used as a film location for many a blockbuster movie and the county’s hotels, woods and villages are no stranger to visits from the Hollywood A-list. Here’s just a few of the movies that have been, at least in part, filmed in Surrey

Read more

Head to the far east of the county and you’ll find a charming town with a big personality set at the foot of the North Downs

Read more
Monday, October 23, 2017

Foxhills Club & Resort is in the running for a prestigious national prize, after being shortlisted in two categories for the third consecutive year in the National Fitness Awards

Read more
Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thirty years ago, the face of Surrey changed almost beyond recognition as The Great Storm ripped through the county, felling over a million trees and leaving a terrific trail of destruction in their wake.

Read more
Monday, October 9, 2017

With Halloween just around the corner, we bring you the definitive guide to Surrey’s most haunted places. Warning! Many of these spooky stories, which date back centuries, are historically/geographically inaccurate, but can still be investigated with a sense of fun…

Read more
Sunday, October 8, 2017

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Thursday, October 5, 2017

First staged in London’s West End in 1982, The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard calls on the theme of marital infidelity as its core thread, but digs deeper, lingering on seemingly insignificant comments and touching raw nerves with humour yet astute sincerity.

Read more
Monday, October 2, 2017

A national or international awareness day or week is a date usually set by a major organisation to commemorate a public health, tourism or ethical cause.

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Surrey Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search