Mickleham Picture by Robert Steele

Mickleham, Westhumble and Headley

The Downland villages to the north of Dorking have a special appeal and dramatic landscape settings.

Headley is a small community mentioned as far back as the Domesday Book of the 11th century. High up on the Downs and set within rolling grass slopes, heath and woodland, Headley Heath is owned by The National Trust and provides lovely easy walking. It is also popular with horse riders. Nower Wood is an educational nature reserve owned by the Surrey Wildlife Trust. Amid this rural scene and the loose collection of buildings that form the village of Headley is the prominent tower and spire of St Mary’s church designed by the greatest of Victorian ecclesiastical architects, George Edmund Street, resident of nearby Holmbury St Mary.

Mickleham and Westhumble are within the same parish but divided by the A24 and the River Mole. Mickleham, to the east, lies below Box Hill. It was the home of Victorian poet George Meredith. His flint and brick house is typical of much of the local building traditions; the red brick providing a pleasing contrast to the white flint walls. Many of the boundary walls through the village use the same combination of materials. There are many fine houses in Mickleham, including Juniper Hall, built in 1780 and now the home of the Field Studies Council. The parish church of St Michael is the oldest building and famous as the place where novelist Fanny Burney married General d’Arblay.

It was in Westhumble that Fanny Burney lived after her marriage. The village is overlooked by Norbury Park and the magnificent house built by William Lock in 1774. Another prominent house is Cleveland Lodge, former home or musician Lady Susie Jeans and her astronomer husband Sir James Jeans.