Kenley Airfield visit

On Sunday 24th April we made our second visit to historic Kenley Airfield.

Established in 1917 where aeroplanes were constructed from sections and pieces and flown to Europe for combat in the First World War. Kenley was a very important airfield in the Second World War, and during the Battle of Britain was responsible for the defence of a large airspace over southern England.

Hurricanes and Spitfires flew from this airfield. Croydon and Redhill airports were under its control. English Heritage identified Kenley as “the most complete fighter airfield associated with the Battle of Britain to have survived”.



We were guided by Alan Morgan, Chairman of the Kenley Airfield Friends Group, and his knowledgeable team of Linda, Tony and Neil. We walked around the perimeter road while RAF cadets flew gliders above us. We were shown and told about the significant features of the airfield including the Blast Pens (where the planes were stationed awaiting duty) with their air raid shelters, the firing range (skilled use of a rifle was expected of everybody on the airfield), the Officers Mess (where officers would have their boots cleaned and polished by female Batmen .


Douglas Bader served here in 1931 and Hammond Innes was an artillery gunner during the Battle of Britain. It is thought that he used some of his experiences in one of his early books titled “Attack Alarm”.


There are two Squash Courts which date back to c.1921 which predate universal rules relating to the court size.

They are quite possibly unique. They even have different quality coat hangers for Officers and “others”.



Unlike other fighter stations that have been modernised, Kenley has retained its original runways, giving visitors a true flavour of its historic purpose.

The Airfield was closed as an operational base in 1959, but the runway and the remaining buildings are still owned by the Ministry of Defence.

After the tour we were permitted access to the Portcullis Club where the club bar has a large number of photographs and memorabilia.


Everyone had a very enjoyable morning and thanks are due to Ray and Joyce Jessop for organising this visit.

North Downs Way project with BBC Surrey

We thought you would be interested to know that our President, Chris Howard and Vice President, Ken Bare have been working with BBC Surrey on a complex project which will form a major component of Surrey Day – which takes places on Saturday 7th May this year.

They have organised and hosted a four day walk along the North Downs Way from Farnham to Botley Hill accompanied by a BBC reporter and a BBC senior sound engineer/producer.

Along the way there have been interviews with numerous people including the Lord Lieutenant, NDW Trail Manager, local producers and business owners plus walkers whom they have met along the way.

Mark Carter’s monthly Surrey Show will preview the NDW walk this Sunday 24th at 17.30.

The interviews will be starting on Monday 25th April and for the next two weeks in the build-up to Surrey Day. You can tune into Radio Surrey (104.0 FM) and listen to them as follows:

07.45 – every day where they tell the story of the NDW walk.

08.40 – daily listen to head-to-head interviews with the producers and key people along the route.

14.40 – same as 07.45, telling the story of the NDW walk (this will also be on Radio Sussex)

07.45 – Saturday Breakfast, previewing NDW walk this weekend (and then telling part six of the story on April 30)

We hope you enjoy listening and hearing more about the Surrey Hills.

Surrey Hills Making Space for Nature Exhibition

The Surrey Hills are delighted to host an exhibition of 30 illustrations of Surrey Hills indicator species at the National Trust’s Leith Hill Place, in response to our Making Space for Nature project.

These 30 original artworks were specially commissioned by Surrey Hills Society and funded by Surrey Hills Trust Fund.  Please click here to read more.

The exhibition is open to the public now and is included with the purchase of an entry ticket to Leith Hill Place, free for National Trust Members. It will continue to be on display at Leith Hill Place until the autumn.

Leith Hill Place is open Friday to Sunday 11am – 16.30pm.

Exploring Hankley Common and the Atlantic Wall

Sunday 3 April 2022

Four Dachshunds and and a selection of bipeds completed the walk through the sandy pine heathland of Hankley common where we encountered the Atlantic wall. Happily no injury was sustained on the army training ground but sadly no sign of James Bond.  Here are a few photographs taken during the walk.


 Thanks to Heather Aitken and Chris Howard for the photographs.