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.

One thought on “Hogs Back – a brief history

  1. Alan and Monica Bowen

    The proposal is a piece of environmental vandalism. The slopes of the Hogs Back clear of buildings are an essential part of the special nature of this site. To build on them would both ruin the view of a superb landscape and harm the local habitat of flora and fauna.
    The university is becoming too big for its boots. It should not be in the business of property development. What it should be doing if it has any real intent to benefit the town is to build more student accommodation on its existing campus (multi storeying its car parks if necessary) and in this way aleviate the pressure it causes on the housing areas close to Stag Hill. The Guildford Park Avenue, Guildford Park Road and the Madrid Road/Chase area offers the nearest thing to ‘affordable’ housing in that side of the town and housing there is being bought up and converted into student flats etc. taking such properties off the ‘affordable’ market.


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