Hogs Back – a brief history

Running east to west through Surrey runs the chalk ridge of the North Downs, popularly known as the Hogs Back. It forms part of the great highway of Southern England, which reaches from the straits of Dover to Salisbury Plain. Of all English roads it has the longest history, carrying traders and pilgrims for five centuries.

View of fields to Guildford Cathedral.  The University's proposed development will spread onto these fields and onto land further along the Hogs Back

View of fields to Guildford Cathedral. The University’s proposed development will spread onto these fields and onto land further along the Hogs Back

The Hogs Back has been used by worshippers travelling to Stonehenge; Phoenician, Greek and Gaul traders in search of Cornish tin, lead and furs; Julius Caesar on his way to London; William the Conqueror on his way to Winchester; and thousands of pilgrims, including a penitent Henry II, who made their way along, and beside, the ridge towards Thomas a Becket’s shrine at Canterbury.

Soldiers, traders and pilgrims alike would have marvelled at the beauty of the landscape that can be seen for miles in all directions from the Hogs Back. As Surrey chronicler Eric Parker wrote in 1908:

‘the vision from its windy heights is one of the widest and most gracious of all visions of woods and fields and hills’.

This vision remains today, but is now under threat.

Please help save the Hogs Back by signing our petition.

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