Our parent charity – The Dorking Society
The Dorking Society promotes public interest in and care for the beauty, history and character of Dorking and the surrounding district and works to preserve, develop and improve local features of general public amenity and historic interest.
The area covered by the Society falls within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It includes such well known features as Box Hill and Leith Hill, Leith Hill Place (the childhood home of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams), Denbies vineyard, and the market town of Dorking, with its collection of early modern buildings, including the home of a Pilgrim Father and his family.
The Society operates within the historic manor of Dorking and its environs: north to Mickleham and Box Hill but excluding Leatherhead; south to Capel, Walliswood and Ockley; east to Betchworth and Brockham; west to Abinger but excluding Gomshall and Shere.
To contact the Society – please mail their Chairman, Jane le Cluse.
Dorking Society – Conservation Community & Planning Group
Celebrating and protecting our built heritage and promoting vibrant local communities
The Community, Conservation and Planning team aims to preserve the best of the past and to promote high quality, appropriate development, and to engage with amenity and infrastructure issues that have an impact on the quality of life in the town and villages.
The Society supports and promotes initiatives to encourage walking and the development of heritage trails in the town and surrounding countryside.
To contact the CCP mail CCP@dorkingsociety.org.uk
Local Museums and History Centres
Leatherhead Museum – The Leatherhead Museum of Local History is in Hampton Cottage, a timbered 17th Century house. The Museum opened in 1980. It is the Leatherhead and District Local History Society’s HQ, as well as its showcase for many items of local interest.
Shere Museum – The extensive displays include objects of daily life – tools, toys, domestic items, wartime and leisure – mainly from Victorian times to the 1950s and some surprising finds from earlier periods. The collection covers all aspects of the history of the parish of Shere, which encompasses the villages of Shere, Gomshall, Peaslake, Holmbury St Mary and parts of Abinger.
Haslemere Museum – Haslemere Educational Museum is one of the largest Natural History Museums in central southern England with over 240,000 specimens, along with over 140,000 Human History artefacts from around the World. There are three large permanent galleries for Geology, Natural History and Human History artefacts, also with three temporary exhibition rooms, a library and a dedicated education room for people of all ages.
Horsham Museum – Housed in a medieval timber-framed building at the head of one of the most picturesque streets in Sussex, Horsham Museum and Art Gallery offers visitors a treasure trove of local history objects displayed in 26 galleries. The museum also has two walled gardens. A treat for all garden lovers!
Surrey History Centre – collects and rescues archives and printed materials relating to Surrey’s past and present, so that they can tell the story of the county and its people to future generations. You can use these fascinating materials in our supervised search room where staff are on hand to assist your research.
Denbies – the vineyards are situated on the North Downs with its famous chalky soil, in a protected valley of south facing slopes. A total of 265 acres have been planted which is three times the size of any other in the United Kingdom and has met the promise of producing some of the finest sparkling and table wines in Europe through repeated certification in the annual International Wine Challenge.
Local History Societies
Dorking – holds monthly meetings with speakers, members’ evenings, guided walks, and outings. They initiate research into the history of the town and surrounding villages and works with Dorking Museum to support members in their research.
Newdigate – holds a regular programme of meetings with guest speakers in the Village Hall. Visits are also arranged to places and properties of particular interest
Coldharbour and Leith Hill – created in 2004; Coldharbour and Leith Hill Society always has a full calendar of events. Meetings take place at 7.30pm in the John Venus Hall, Coldharbour.
Westcott – arranges group meetings with visiting speakers. They collect and make available photographs, maps, census returns, parish registers etc. relating to Westcott. A quarterly newsletter is also produced for their members.
Mickleham and Westhumble – The group meets regularly, with a varied programme of activities such as talks from guest speakers, guidedwalks and trips to places of historical interest. As well as archive research and cataloguing projects we have a variety of task groups working on many topics related to the area.
Friends of Box Hill – is a charity, independent of the National Trust, although they work closely with the Trust. FOBH is made up of people who have come to love the Hill and want to help protect it for future generations.
Surrey Hills Society – is an independent charity promoting the positive enjoyment and care of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for those who live, work in, or visit the area. The Society encourages people to explore and learn about the special qualities and distinctiveness of the area.
Our Volunteers and Supporters
Mouse Trap Books – Museum supporter David Drummond is a Dorking author and publisher. All his books on mouse traps and related topics published in Dorking are now only sold by the Dorking Museum for the benefit of the Museum. If you’d like a copy of any of his books, please get in touch here.
Fairlight Historical Research– Museum Librarian Susannah Horne offers help with family history or the history of your house.
Holmwood Histories – Museum Exhibition planner, Kathy Atherton has extensively researched the villages of North, Mid and South Holmwood. Her website is packed with information on these areas.
The Deepdene Trail – Back in 2015, a £1million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund was secured for the project to revive the landscape and key architectural features on the estate once owned by Thomas Hope, who lived in Deepdene House during the early 19th century. There are many paths to explore on The Trail, perfect for a short walk or a grand adventure. Our three recommended routes range in distance from a 1 mile explore to a 9 mile adventure.
Transition Dorking – part of the transition movement, an international grass roots response to the challenges of sustainability, peak oil and climate change. It aims to establish initiatives that will enable Dorking to become more independent and resilient in the face of change, and in doing so bring us together as a community.
Dorking Food Float – is a not for profit community interest company largely run and supported by volunteers. Food Float offers a range of local bread, cheese, eggs, seasonal fruit and vegetables, baked goods, preserves and honeys. All sourced within 20 miles of your high street and most within 10 miles.
Mole Valley Arts Alive – is Mole Valley’s community arts festival, featuring local people in local locations, engaged in a wealth of local events. This is Mole Valley’s own Fringe Festival, running throughout October, and all are welcome to listen, to watch, to take part and to enjoy some of the hundred or more events that go on.
Mole Valley Heritage Open Days – the largest voluntary heritage event in the country, taking place every year in early September.
Visit Dorking – Everything you need to plan a visit to Dorking; including shopping, places to eat and places to visit.
Surrey in the Great War – Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers is a four year project, run by Surrey Heritage and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which aims to discover how the 1914-1918 conflict affected those left behind, in the county, on the Home Front.
Mole Valley Ramblers – offer friendly group walking across the heart of Surrey and further afield. Both on weekdays and at weekends, they provide a range of walks, generally 5-7 miles for half day walks and 10-12 for full day walks. They also organise the Spring Walks Festival each April.