The Watermill Inn is a handsome 1930s pub constructed in an attractive Tudor style, overlooking the stunning landscape of Box Hill, at the heart of the Surrey Hills Area of Natural Beauty. A tranquil haven set just back from the A25/Reigate Road, this charming pub is a perfect spot to enjoy traditional pub food.
The Watermill Inn is a highly attractive 1930s building in Pixham, tucked in the Surrey Hills AONB (Area of Natural Beauty), overlooking the lushly green and historic landscape of Box Hill. The tiny village of Pixham houses a multitude of cultural treasures in a small area. The Grade II* listed Pixham Church was completed in 1901, and was designed by the acclaimed architect Edwin Lutyens. Pixham Mill was an important site of industry in the village during the mid-19th century, and much of the attractive Grade II listed mill complex still stands in the village. Pixham was also the home of revered writer Daniel DeFoe, author of Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, and widely considered to be the first novelist.
Pixham lies within Dorking, another area with an impressive cultural heritage which belies its small size. The mid-1920s, art deco Dorking Halls sits at the heart of the town, and composer Ralph Vaughan Williams staged Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion here in 1931. Just half-a-mile away lies Dorking Museum & Heritage Centre, which contains some fantastic paintings and vintage photographs of the area, as well as some more esoteric exhibitions.
Whatever the reason for a visit, The Watermill Inn is a beautiful and historic setting for enjoying delectable traditional pub food, including seasonal specials and relaxed Sunday lunches.Read more...
A Tudor-style 1930s pub perched above the spectacular Box Hill summit of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), The Watermill Inn stands at the heart of Pixham, a tiny but beautiful and historic village close to the town of Dorking – both places dating back to Roman times.
The heart of Pixham lies on one of the original (Roman) Stane Streets which linked London to Chichester, in the shadow of the spectacular Box Hill. Pixham’s most famous industry, watermills, developed during the early 19th century, and the village’s Mill and its associated house and cottage are listed Grade II and higher. The industry existed in the town from the 1830s until the early part of the 20th century. The Grade II* listed Pixham Church is another important site within Pixham. This unlikely styled and stone-and-brick-built structure was constructed in 1903 by celebrated British architect Edwin Lutyens, who designed the majority of the modern Indian city of New Delhi, as well as various British landmarks, including The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. Pixham’s most famous resident is Daniel Defoe, author of ‘Robinson Crusoe’ and ‘Captain Singleton’, widely believed to have created the novel as a format – Defoe, coming from a family of dissenters, was educated at Reverend James Fisher’s Boarding School in Pixham.
The spectacular Box Hill takes its name from the ancient box woodland found on the steepest chalk cliffs above the winding River Mole. Box trees have grown on its slope since at least the time of Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, though some sources suggest that these trees were commonplace upon the hill by the 13th century. In addition to its spectacular views, there are several sites of particular interest on Box Hill, including the Swiss Cottage, where John Logie Baird performed tests on his upcoming invention, the television. The Zig Zag road leading into the hill was used in the cycling road-race courses in the 2012 London Olympics, whilst The Old Fort was of different significance to London – a strategic lookout built in 1890 to help prevent London from potential invaders in Continental Europe.
Dorking, like Pixham, lies on a former Stane Street, though the settlement came to prominence during the medieval period. The Domesday book of 1086 has reference to the Manor of Dorchinges, which was owned by William the Conqueror, and subsequently by several Dukes of Norfolk, before they relocated to Arundel. During the medieval period, Dorking was a prosperous agricultural town, though its farming reached royal acclaim more recently, when, in the 19th century, the 5-clawed Dorking fowl was a favourite dish of Queen Victoria. During the late-19th century, Ralph Vaughan Williams grew up in Dorking, and composed many of his most acclaimed pieces whilst in the area – including ‘The Poisoned Kiss’ and ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’, as well as performing at the beautiful Art Deco Dorking Halls – a theatre opened in the 1920s.
The town’s heritage is perhaps best represented in the impressive Dorking Museum & Heritage Centre, which contains historic documents, early 20th century photographs of the town, and some superb oil and watercolour paintings of this historic town and its impressive surrounding landscape. The museum lies close to the gardens of Deepdene House, which are now tastefully interwoven with the Dorking Golf Course. Deepdene was an immaculate stately home, which Benjamin Disraeli, staying there, described as “the most perfect Italian palace you can conceive”, and it is believed to have the first Italianate gardens in Nineteenth century England.