As casting begins for a reality TV programme entitled ‘Surrey Hills’, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Board is taking the opportunity to remind people of the natural attractions of the real Surrey Hills.
The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) stretches across a quarter of the county and includes the chalk slopes of the North Downs from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east and extends south to the deeply wooded Greensand Hills, which rise in Haslemere.
Far from the images of fast cars, gated developments and jacuzzis which the programme producers aim to depict, the Surrey Hills AONB instead offers picture postcard villages, flower rich grasslands, bustling market towns and breathtaking views which have inspired writers, designers, composers and artists such as Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Gertrude Jekyll, Vaughan Williams and George Watts.
Champagne does flow: from the Albury Organic Vineyard and the award winning Denbies Wine Estate. And while luxury cars are not an uncommon sight, residents and visitors also enjoy exploring the countryside in hiking boots, on horseback and mountain bikes and in kayaks.
Surrey Hills AONB Board Director, Rob Fairbanks says: “The reality is that this docu-soap takes place in towns which are closer to London than to Leith Hill. The Surrey Hills AONB is a treasured landscape, which has so much more to offer than ‘parties, celebrities and sports cars’. Each year over 30 million people visit this protected landscape, rich in flora and fauna, to enjoy South East England’s most accessible and beautiful countryside.”