Published: 30 April 2019
Surrey Matters has been out discovering some hidden treasures in Surrey. This month we visited Reigate, the heart of East Surrey. Set at the foot of the North Downs, this bustling town is home to around 20, 000 people. With cameras ready, we filmed a video which you can see below and spoke to locals about must - see sights, walks and what makes a thriving community.
The heart of East Surrey
East Surrey's history began when William the Conqueror gave the land to one of his knights, later named the Earl of Surrey in 1088. Begin your journey through history in the peaceful castle grounds which sits on top the old tunnel caves which were once sand mines. If you want to experience what it's like in the secretive tunnels you can just turn up on the open days. They only open five days a year so have a look on the Reigate Caves website before you go. Make your way to the old town through the cobblestone alley called the Donkey's Steps, which were once used by donkeys to deliver goods in and out of the town in the medieval days. There's lots of hidden historical treasures dotted around the old town and you can find out more about them on the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council website.
The great outdoors
A few hundred metres from the high street is Priory Park, Reigate's most famous park. With 200 acres of woodland, lakes, a playground and a café, it is the perfect place to enjoy the fresh air while still being near the town centre. If you want to walk further afield, head to Reigate Heath which is home to the only windmill church in the world. You can also check out the Reigate Hill walk that has stunning views of Box Hill and the South Downs, you may bump into the resident cattle who help maintain the beautiful landscape.
We asked locals about what makes Reigate a thriving community. They talked about how they give back and donate their skills to community projects such as helping with a charity's social media account or with their IT. Whether you run a business, work on social media or are a carpenter, you can donate your skills to community projects near you too. Voluntary Action Reigate and Banstead (VARB) is a great place to start your volunteering journey and find out about all projects run in the area.
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