Surrey Hills Wine Tasting

“Just to say how much we enjoyed the wine tasting and how impressed we were with the range of Surrey Hills wines that are available. We certainly need to investigate some of the more unusual ones. Thank you for putting on such an interesting presentation and also for the excellent “nibbles” which were much appreciated! Everyone enjoyed themselves and felt a lot merrier afterwards!” – Mark and Virginia Turner





Attentive audience at the Guildhall







Mayor of Guildford, Gordon Jackson, hosted the event with his wife. Pictured with the Society Chairman Chris Howard.






11 still wines from 6 different Surrey Hills wineries and vineyards. Interesting variety and beautiful quality!

Winter walk around Shere and tea at Gomshall Mill

“This is my second walk with the Society – very enjoyable. Such a lovely group of people.” – Margaret

“Thank you for the walk today and people that where involved. It was very enjoyable!” – Janet Webber, Wendy Jeavons and Carolyn Reeves

“Great day out in the Surrey Hills exploring these two quaint, historic villages. We learnt about the Tales & Trails of the Tillingbourne Heritage Lottery Funded project, which was exploring the industrial history of the Tillingbourne Valley. We learnt about the Tannery at Gomshall, the wool industry in Shere, popped in to explore beautiful St James Church in Shere, viewed a sympathetically design modern affordable housing scheme, and visited Gomshall Mill (now a great pub & restaurant) where we had tea. Such an enjoyable day out and really lovely group of people.” – Chris Howard

Visit to Godstone and Highways Agency

In November 2016, the Society had a very enjoyable and interesting visit to Godstone. Gathering at Godstone Vineyard for lunch we had a very relaxed social start to our event. Several of our group arrived early so that they could have a wander around the vineyard and/or settle in the snug little tearoom attached to the vineyard. A good number of those present took the opportunity to sample the local produce! After lunch, we left our cars at the vineyard and using the kind services of a supporter with a mini-bus, transferred to the Highways England (formerly Highways Agency) Regional Control Centre just a short distance from the M25 at Godstone.

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We were made very welcome and spent about 45 minutes learning more about the role of the Godstone unit, the issues they face and some of the stranger calls and incidents with which they have to get involved. It was amazing how often they have to deal with drivers going in the wrong direction on motorways and dual carriageways! We also came to understand why the matrix signs show some of the messages or restrictions that one sees but do not immediately make sense – for example an incident is just some undesirable situation until they have formal confirmation of what it is and can then change the sign to be more descriptive. It was also explained to us why it is important to use the roadside emergency phones in the event of a problem rather than just trying to use a mobile phone to sort things for oneself. Once Highways England are contacted, they can target the incident with cameras, dispatch support units to cone off areas, contact and chase your recovery service for you and generally try to keep you safe until the situation is resolved. Until they get that phone message you are on your own!?Since the average time that a vehicle is on the hard shoulder before it is hit by a passing vehicle is only 11 minutes, it is obvious why their assistance is key. Having learned a lot about the work of the unit, we then went upstairs to the control room to see their work for ourselves. There were lots of screens covering not only motorways but major routes all across south-east England. At the time of our visit the team were monitoring a major incident on the anticlockwise carriageway of the M25 between Reigate and the M23 (which had actually caused travel delays to a couple of our group). We were able to see this and various other traffic situations and chat to a few of those working there. This was an absolutely fascinating visit and one where you can’t just walk in off the street to have a look. We all came away better informed and having had a brilliant day out. I would certainly give this event a very high score!

Annual General Meeting

The eighth AGM of the Surrey Hills Society took place on 29th October in Godalming. More than 40 members listened carefully to Neil Maltby, the President of the Society, who opened the meeting. This was followed by a detailed report from the Chairman, Chris Howard, about the Society’s achievements and work over the past 12 months. A huge amount of things have happened and all the Committee members, Trustees, active volunteers and Society members were given a very big


The Meeting Minutes and Chairman’s report will be shortly available on the website under News/AGMs for you to read.

Why are there no Georgian houses in Newdigate?

An interesting walk to hidden areas of Newdigate and a visit to the Mill Cottage Garden. The guides from Newdigate History Society were very knowledgeable and local historian John Calcutt created such a fascinating talk that it took us much longer than planned to get to the wonderful refreshments that crowned the evening.

Enthousiastic Society members commented:

“Having lived at Ewood for 32 years, I found this outing fascinating and learnt so much about the area. To finish the evening at the Surrey Oak was the icing on the cake.”

“Very interesting – could have done with torches! Fascinating hidden area of Surrey. Good historical/industrial information!”

“Wonderful homemade sausage rolls and Pimms (courtesy of the Richards, SHS members) at Ewood Stables!”

Plant Identification Walk

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Enthousiastic SHS members thanked our specialist and praised her knowledge:

“Pamela has got the level of detail just right. I don’t need to know which sub-species of which latin name it is, I just like to know the common name.”

“I’ve lived in Surrey for many years but never visited the Sheepleas. I’ll certainly be coming back.”

A Pixham Perambulation

“Two more of Surrey’s hidden gems. I didn’t know either of these existed!” exclaimed many of the participants to this fabulous afternoon. The weather was with the visitors and made the Patchworking gardens to look at their best.  We were privileged to be invited by Lady Wedgwood to her gardens and into Pixham Mill. He was very interesting and kind guide. Her gardens were destroyed by 2013 flooding and have fortunately recovered magnificently.

Lady Wedgwood