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Surprises On Our Doorstep

The Tower on Chatley Heath proved an exceedingly appropriate place to include in Moleside’s September walk. Standing tall, restored and the only surviving naval semaphore link in Briitain still in working order, visiting it seemed to offer an uplift at a time of deep national sadness.

Led by Paul Walker we were promised a walk with no stiles and the mild undulations of our local heathland certainly did not challenge the dozen who set off from Bouldermere Car Park to investigate the nearby woods – and the surprises they contain. 


Several of us already knew that Chatley Heath is the site of the fifth semaphore station from London which, for 25 years after the Napoleonic Wars, passed on messages from the Admiralty to Portsmouth. 

 But all of us must have been pleasantly surprised by its current state.  Restored by Surrey County Council and Surrey Historic Buildings, it has, since 2017, been managed by The Landmark Trust who welcome enquiries for short term holiday stays.

And a short distance away in another recently cleared piece of woodland we were guided to a second beneficiary of Surrey County Council’s restorative activities. 

The Samuelson Mausoleum stands in what were once the grounds of Hatchford Park. In 1919 this local mansion was the home of Sir Henry Samuelson.  He commissioned the edifice to honour his late family – and he hoped provide a permanent resting place.  Those who knew this spot from years ago will remember its sorry overgrown condition and the rumours of gothic and other mysterious goings on in these parts.  When the Moleside walkers paid our visit we found an interesting piece of local history now being sensitively looked after. 

There’s much more about this intriguing place – and those it was built to honour – HERE.  

 A short walk back to our cars was followed by a visit to The Black Swan and a much appreciated lunch – eventually.  Thanks Paul for an inspiring walk and thanks too to Peter Wall for his fine photos.

For our reports on previous Moleside Walks click on the Tag below.