CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Surrey Hills Society chairman Christine Howard on her perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 09:59 15 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:19 15 January 2015

Chris hard at work in the Surrey countryside on a volunteer day on Headley Heath

Chris hard at work in the Surrey countryside on a volunteer day on Headley Heath

NA

As the chairman of the Surrey Hills Society, Surrey Life columnist Christine Howard likes nothing better at the weekend than getting away from her computer to enjoy the spectacular countryside of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2015

 

***

Share your Surrey Hills photography @ www.surreylife.co.uk/photos

***

 

During the week, I seem to spend my life in and out of board meetings or staring at a computer screen. I am a director at Visit Surrey, the destination management organisation for the county, vice chairman of Surrey Hills Enterprises and a freelance business development consultant. In my free time, I am the chairman of the charity formed to support the Surrey Hills. I am also lucky enough to live in the Surrey Hills, in Shamley Green. This is the village where EH Shepard, the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh, lived and worked. Some of the pictures in the book are of real places in the area.

I was fortunate to discover the Surrey Hills on what was supposed to be a young Australian’s backpacker working holiday. I took a map of England, stuck a pin in it and ended up in the picturesque village of Shere. I just fell in love with the place and the people and have never moved more than five miles from my first little flat in the attic of a beautiful Arts and Crafts house by the Tillingbourne River.

I later discovered to my surprise that the Surrey Hills was my grandparents’ favourite location before they emigrated to Australia after World War Two. In fact, they had their honeymoon in Shere! Now isn’t that a coincidence!

I feel very privileged to have spent my life in the beautiful Surrey Hills countryside and getting out and enjoying it at the weekend is my ultimate de-stress. At least one Saturday or Sunday a month, I enjoy an outing with the Surrey Hills Society, which is run almost entirely by volunteers. I have learnt so much about Surrey by being part of this organisation, the stated objectives of which are ‘to enjoy and protect the Surrey Hills’.

 

Use it or lose it

My feeling is that if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t protect it. The pressures to build on the open spaces in Surrey are becoming greater and greater because of our proximity to London. The need to raise awareness of this special landscape is so important to its ultimate protection, as well as our population’s health and well-being.

If I am not out enjoying the Surrey Hills, then I am usually volunteering in it. I love taking off the suit, pulling on a pair of old jeans and jacket and getting my hands dirty in the countryside. There are opportunities to volunteer with the National Trust, Surrey Wildlife Trust or with your local council, who between them manage a significant proportion of Surrey’s countryside. There are opportunities to do hedge-laying, scrub clearance, habitat creation, species counts and footpath repairing, to name but a few.

My other favourite weekend pastime, when not out in the countryside, is to enjoy its produce. The Surrey Hills has the highest concentration of vineyards in the country, as well as some award-winning boutique breweries. We also have some rare breeds of cattle and sheep grazing our rolling hills, which produce some really high quality meats. My favourite restaurant, partly because the owners are such champions of local foods, is The Jolly Farmers in Buckland. Their talents were recently recognised at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards.

I also enjoy visiting our Surrey’s farmers’ markets and country shows and have a cupboard full of local honey, sauces and jams that the talented foodies of this county have created.

Then finally, on Sunday evenings, I like to curl up by the TV and watch my favourite programme, Countryfile, of course!

 

• In 2014, Christine Howard’s voluntary efforts supporting the Surrey Hills were recognised by a Point of Light Award from Prime Minister David Cameron.

 

***

More from Surrey Life

Friday, October 19, 2018

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

Read more
Thursday, October 18, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more
Thursday, October 18, 2018

To mark the appointment of Peter Estlin, a former head boy at King Edward’s Witley, as new Lord Mayor of the City of London, Surrey Life has joined forces with the 400-pupil school to give away two tickets to the Lord Mayor’s Show on 10 November plus an overnight stay in London

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

With The Great British Bake Off back on our screens the nation is falling in love with baking once again. Head pastry chef at Pennyhill Park, Sarah Frankland, tells us about what it takes to make it as a professional

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wrap up in your favourite coat and scarf, grab your sparklers and a warming drink, and enjoy one of these fantastic firework displays taking place in Surrey for bonfire night

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Home to outstanding architecture, ambitious community projects and arts ventures that are putting these villages firmly on the map, East and West Horsley are among our county’s most desirable addresses

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Chertsey’s best-kept secret, the Great Cockcrow Railway, steamed into a half-century this year

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A taste of Korea has swept into the beautiful market town of Godalming as Bada sets out its stall with a tapas-style fusion of seafood, traditional dishes and spice

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

With friendship as the central theme in Adele Parks’ new book, Zoe Richards met up with the bestselling author and her publisher, Kate Mills, to find out how these two Surrey dwellers have discovered a successful working relationship, and become firm friends too

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

As the twilight falls, the magic begins… There’s something for everyone at Christmas at Kew – and we’re giving you the chance to win one of five family tickets for two adults and two children to the Preview Night of Christmas at Kew on Wednesday 21 November 2018

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Good table manners have long been a source of national pride but in this modern age of social media are our longstanding traditions being left behind? Rebecca Younger visits the stately Beaverbrook estate for a lesson in British etiquette

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

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
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The spookiest time of the year is fast approaching! We pick some of the best events to celebrate Halloween in Surrey

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