Surrey news and views - your letters - October 2015
PUBLISHED: 14:54 09 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:08 09 October 2015
Win a meal for two at one of five top Surrey pubs by sharing your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Win a meal for two at one of Surrey’s top pubs!
If you’d like to see your letter printed in Surrey Life, write to us at the usual address or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Every month, the writer of our Star Letter will win a dinner for two, up to the value of £50, at one of the five Surrey pubs run by Red Mist Leisure, who are passionate about fresh food, local produce and the perfect pint. The latest addition to the family is The Cock Inn at Headley, which reopened in March after some much-needed TLC to return this lovely country pub to its former glory. The prize is available from Monday to Thursday and booking is required. For more on Red Mist Leisure, see redmistleisure.co.uk.
The mystery deepens
I am just getting in touch having seen on your website surreylife.co.uk the recent coverage of the mysterious tunnels under Reigate Hill.
In short, I used to live in Chilmark Gardens, Merstham, and as a young boy would go exploring numerous places around the area without my parents’ knowledge. Eventually, our group of school friends started to explore the army training grounds that were accessed through a farmer’s property when there used to be a walk-through at the end of Quality Street. I recall on the first occasion we entered the area, we found numerous semi-sunken bunkers on the land but were chased away by a local farmer who told us to get off the land and not to return.
Nevertheless, as a young kid, and wanting to know what all the bunkers were for, we again entered the land and proceeded to investigate further. That time, we ended up walking back onto Gatton Bottom Road, and towards Reigate, and as we were walking along we noticed at the left side of the road there was a semi-exposed brick tunnel angled down into the ground. Furthermore, the entrance was exposed by a couple of feet due to what looked to be earth subsidence following heavy rain.
We entered the tunnel and went down at an angle, over the earth stacked at the entrance, only to find around 20-30 feet in, the wall was bricked up. Again, being curious, we knocked through a few of the bricks to see if we could see what was behind the wall, but being pitch black we decided we wouldn’t enter it any further and would return the following day with some torches, and we took some rope as well.
When a couple of the kids did get through the wall, what was found looked like an underground tunnel heading towards Reigate Hill. That was not the only thing we found either – to the side of the tunnel there were storage recesses with locked gates containing what looked to be weapons and ammunition crates. Within a few minutes of us seeing these, though, the local farmer caught up with us and we were told in no uncertain terms to get out of there and never to return. Needless to say, when the guy was holding a shotgun, we didn’t argue and took off. A few days later, the tunnel was covered over with earth, but you could still see where the raised mound was and where the tunnel continued. I believe to this day the tunnel still holds whatever is stored there and is still buried.
I now reside in Perth, Western Australia, and I have been back for a trip about 20 years ago and drove past the spot where it is, still wondering when someone will uncover it and find out what is there. The tunnel, I believe with its direction, was possibly linked to Reigate Fort or maybe just used for underground storage.
Perth, Western Australia
Editor’s Note: Dear Tony, thank you so much for your fascinating e-mail, which we all read with great interest. For my part, I live in Reigate myself and, if I crane my neck, I can just see the hill out of my window! As such, I have followed this story very closely. It also seems to have touched a chord with a lot of our readers too – so many of them seem to have their own memories of the tunnels. Finally, we have forwarded your e-mail on to the National Trust, who I’m sure will also be very interested as well. Thank you so much again for taking the time to write. All best wishes, Caroline
A good lead
Following your recent feature on ‘A dog-lover’s guide to Surrey’ (Surrey Life, August), I just thought you might be interested in a new initiative, ‘Pooches in Pubs’, launched by pub operator and brewer, Brakspear.
Designed to make its pubs the first point of call for four-legged friends and their owners, they are aiming to make their pubs more dog-friendly, with a supply of ‘dogs welcome’ posters and water bowls, treats and recipes for dog meals.
All of Brakspear’s pubs are participating in this initiative, including The Running Horses at Mickleham, a recently revamped, historic coaching inn that is tucked away in the beautiful Surrey Hills.
This five-bedroom inn with restaurant and cosy bar welcomes dogs in the bar and outside seating area. Plus, on the doorstep, there are miles of open countryside including Box Hill, a 15-minute stroll from the pub’s front door.
Find out more at therunninghorses.co.uk.
With best wishes,
Out of the woods
We were delighted to read Christine Howard’s glowing feedback about the naming ceremony for our First World War Centenary Wood at Langley Vale (Surrey Life, August). The event took a huge amount of planning and organisation, particularly in the design of the invitations that caught her attention. The invitation was designed by our in-house design team who have many years experience, producing a huge array of printed materials.
We’ve also had a fantastic working relationship with the 10th Essex Regiment Living History Group, which so accurately captured the essence of a World War One military camp on the day.
The next stage of our work at Langley Vale will see the continuation of important ecological surveying, working closely with volunteers, and refining our plans for the design of the wood. We are also holding our first public planting days this autumn.
Find out more about the Trust’s Centenary Woods project by visiting our website at woodlandtrust.org.uk/fww.
Centenary Woods project manager
Food for thought
We just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful evening last night. The Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards dinner and ceremony were most enjoyable, and winning the Newcomer of the Year award came as a complete shock! We are over the moon. Bringing real food to people is our passion, and this win has given us just the boost and encouragement we need to keep going and growing!
So grateful to Peter Lee and his fellow judges, and to all your readers for their kind support, not only for me but for all the food and drink producers in Surrey who do this as a labour of love. And thank you to Surrey Life for being such a fantastic ambassador for the Surrey community. You help give the county a real identity and solidarity. This is a great testament to your team and to you as editor.
Wishing you all the best,
Director, The Art of Curry, Godalming