The River Mole
Where the River Mole flows around the foot of Box Hill, a spectacular river cliff has developed over thousands of years. The slow process of erosion over these years has created a natural amphitheatre with spectacular views across the landscape from the summit of the North Downs ridge just north of Dorking.
The River Mole is at its most beautiful as it meanders its way below the chalk cliffs, flowing between the stepping stones which provide a crossing point for walkers on the North Downs Way national trail.
The point at which the River Mole breaks through the North Downs is referred to as the Mole Gap. Here the river has cut a north-south route through the chalk hills. This unique landscape has inspired some of the country's finest writers, poets and artists.
Robert Bloomfield wrote:
‘Where the Mole still glides, dwells peace, and peace is wealth to me’
The River Mole is also famous for its swallow holes where the river, at times of low flows, disappears below ground to emerge again further up stream. The swallows of the Mole have long excited the curiosity of travellers through the ages.
The poet Edmund Spencer wrote:
‘Mole that like a Mousling mole doth make His way still underground, till the Thames he overtake’
The Mole Gap is a haven for walkers and ramblers, which is hardly surprising. It contains the picture-postcard village of Mickleham with its lovely church. The Burford Bridge Hotel, a historic building, has changed little since Lord Nelson stayed there immediately prior to Trafalgar. Keats completed his ‘Endymion’ here. Juniper Hall, a fine house in a fine setting, and Norbury Park with its ‘Druids Grove’ of yew trees, mentioned in the Domesday Book, are only some of the attractions.
A trail now provides an opportunity for walkers to walk the whole of the Mole Gap from Leatherhead to Dorking.