Journeys » Dorking

The British Trip

August 22, 2022: Surry Hills, England. Dorking was not what you’d expect.  Just outside London, it had vineyards, pastures, park and pond.  And no chickens. 

Does anyone know where Dorking is?
― Frank Rothwell

No, Dorking is not a strange new British euphemism or vulgarity.  Rather, it is a charming town in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), about 30 miles south of London, just outside the M25 loop.  The town claims three fames:  the pretty Surrey Hills of course, the Denbies Wine Estate…. and chickens.

Hills and Wine

Jean and I did a nice circular through the Surry Hills at Box Hill, with the best views as we finished.  After, we stopped across the road at Denbies, the largest winery in the UK. 

Surry Hills, Box Hill
Summer color in Surrey
Surry Hills, Box Hill
Box Hill views
Surry Hills, Box Hill
St. Michael and All Angels Church in Mickleham on our hike
Surry Hills, Box Hill
The organist was practicing when we slipped in quietly
Surry Hills, Box Hill
Happy to be here

Wine in the UK, you ask?  With global warming, England can now support quality vines.  If in doubt, follow the money… premiere French Champagne producers Moët & Chandon and Taittinger have started large vineyards here in anticipation of the climate shift.

Famous Chickens

Dorking’s real claim to fame, though, is the five-toed chicken breed named after the town.  The bird was originally brought to Britain by the Romans, and was famous for its hardy nature and excellent meat.  Unfortunately, we found no Dorkings on menu or in yard during our stay. 

The only Dorking Chicken we saw

Running Dorking

I found a nice route from our stay at White Horse Hotel (recommended) up through Denbies’ vineyards and looping back via public footpath to the city park, then through some back-lanes in town.  It was, as always, a beautiful way to start the day.

Denbies Vineyards
Morning Run through Denbies Vineyards
Finding my way back

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