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

More from Surrey Life


The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Yesterday, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Yesterday, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Friday, November 9, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

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
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search