King of the Hill: The luxurious Surrey homes that are moving up in the world

Dr Marios Kyriazis, a U.S. ageing expert suggests that seven out of ten of the longest-living communities in the U.S. are mountain-based, and in the tiny Sardinian mountain town of Ovodda, as many men as women live to be 100 years old. Whether it’s the fresh air or the fact you’re doing a lot of walking uphill (using major muscle groups and giving your heart a good workout), moving up in the world could extend your life.

And with that in mind consider some on the more “famous” hills located in the South East of England:

Notting Hill – best known for the annual spectacular carnival and the fact that super chef Jamie Oliver resides there.
Box Hill – the best extreme uphill road, just 25 miles from London that featured prominently in the 2012 Summer Olympic cycling road race routes.
Parliament Hill is an area of open parkland in the south-east corner of Hampstead Heath in north-west London. The hill, which is 98 metres (322 ft) high, is notable for its excellent views of the Capital’s skyline. Many famous landmarks can be seen from its summit such as Canary Wharf, the Gherkin, the Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Richmond Hill – another hugely desirable address in West London
Tower Hill and Shooters in Greenwich – all top spots to live with an albeit only slightly elevated position

Consider New York which is essentially flat and you will find upmarket Forrest Hill, in Paris, Montmartre extends 130 metres into the sky and is a well-heeled nightclub district. Hong Kong calls its much loved hill The Peak where success is measured on how high up the hill you live. Moscow is built on seven hills, Mexico City sits in the basin of surrounding mountains, LA has Beverley Hills and Shanghai, not to be beaten due to a lack of hills, named their World Trade Centre the Shanghai Hills.

So why the prestige of hill living?

There are some excellent geographical reasons for being hillside. Firstly if global warming really does raise sea levels then you are already well placed to stay dry and secondly flooding has become a regular issue in the UK and it is becoming harder to insure valley properties.

James Wyatt, partner of Barton Wyatt, award-winning estate agent in Surrey has this to say:

“The Surrey Hills have become a real draw to our county, at the weekend our hills are deluged with cyclists and our parklands are full of locals and Londoners alike desperate for some clean healthy fun outside. Many of our clients moving into the area are attracted by the open spaces, gently rolling hills and once they have wandered around the lake at Virginia Water they are normally convinced.

“Just recently we have noticed a high number of new build country mansions in the area being named something ‘Hill’. A local developer has just put Hill House on the market at £11,000,000 and this majestic mansion really suits its name. It is a very magnificent house and deserved an equally grand name.

“There are many streets close to Virginia Water and the exclusive Wentworth Estate that have ‘Hill’ in the name – Callow Hill, Knowle Hill, Gorse Hill Road and Badgers Hill, which all boast the very finest properties in the area.”

Living on a hill side has many benefits and a major factor is the potential advantages to your health – providing you occasionally leave the car at home. The American Heart Association carried out two studies, one group of people were tasked to walk uphill and the other group downhill. The results varied dependent on the group but in either group improvements in sugar levels and levels of fat were seen.

The researchers did note however that you don’t have to live in a mountainous area to benefit; smaller inclines will still do the trick. Research shows that walking uphill burns twice the calories to walking on the flat so moving to an area that means you have an incline to tackle to get to the shops or the station is a terrific way of keeping you and the family in tip top condition.

Indeed with the number of obese people in the UK trebling in just 25 years and only a third of adults in England doing the recommended 2.5 hours or more of moderate-intensity activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week, these extra steps will be welcomed.

Back in 2010 property portal Zoopla looked at house prices comparing those situated on a hill compared to those not. They showed a surprising premium on hillside homes; properties with ‘hill’ in the address, at that time, cost an average of £341,466 whilst the equivalent figure for homes on bog-standard streets was just £155,515.

James Wyatt comments:

“I am not sure that in Virginia Water we would see the discrepancies in pricing that the Zoopla figures showed, but many of the houses in our area are linked to names that are rural – such as Wood, Copse, Field, Brook and of course Hill. There is perhaps something very English about using your locality to name your home – quite different to our friends in America who are likely to live at 21489 Main Street. Perhaps that is why so many people from overseas like to settle in England’s green and pleasant lands?”

An exceptional brand new home in the very heart of the Wentworth Estate, siding onto the East Course. The property is situated in beautifully landscaped and private gardens of well over an acre at the rear.

The house has been designed with ample room for a large family. Five receptions on the ground floor, five bedroom suites in the main house and a large entertainment/games room in the roof. The basement houses an indoor pool complex with steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, changing and shower rooms. A one bedroom staff apartment perches above the garaging for three cars.

For more information contact Barton Wyatt on 01344 843000 or visit www.bartonwyatt.co.uk.