Headley is a village and civil parish in the North Downs in Surreyin England. The village is bordered to its west by Mickleham, Surrey and Leatherhead, to the north by Ashtead and Langley Vale, Walton-on-the-Hill to the east and to its south by Box Hill. It is just outside the M25 motorway encircling London.
The Romans had an influence in the surrounds, with the Roman Road to Noviomagus Reginorum, called by the Saxons 'Stane Street (Chichester)' a few hundred metres from the western and northern boundaries and a considerable Roman presence in the neighbouring village of Walton-on-the-Hill with its scheduled ancient monument villa and other finds
Headley's land lay in the Saxons' Copthorne hundred. As Saxon records are scant and the church and population was smaller, nochurch in Headley was known during this period; the first records of a church are after the Norman Conquest. However this church could have been built on or adjacent to the site of a Saxonchurch. In any event next to the church are the remains of a 15th-century church, placed over the grave of the Revd Ferdinand Faithful.
Headley appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as the manor ofHallega. It was held by Radulfus (Ralph) de Felgeres. Its domesday assets were: 2 hides; 6 ploughs, woodland worth 15hogs. It rendered £5 per year to its overlords. The survey records that the manor was held before the conquest by Countess Goda (the mother of King Harold) and it had been granted to her byKing Edward the Confessor.Halle(g)a means a clearing in the heather, which is appropriate considering the village's position on a large patch of acidic topsoil of the generally alkaline North Downs.
The church, which worships St Mary as its dedication, was built in 1855 next to old remains, designed by Anthony Salvin with an added tower of 1859 by G. E. Street. It is built from relatively local flint rubble and is in the common Grade IIcategory of listing.
Walter Cunliffe, later 1st Baron Cunliffe and the Governor of the Bank of England, was given the original farmhouse estate, formerly the main manor, and its remaining 300 acres (1.2 km2), Headley Court, in 1880 by his father on the condition that he would make a career in banking rather than become a farmer. He redeveloped it in 1898. The family fortune had been made by Walter's grandfather, James Cunliffe, with his development of the North Eastern Railway (UK)
There has been little new housing in the village in the late 20th century and early 21st centuries as it is part of theLondon Green Belt and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Substantially the steep and quick-draining land is covered by woods. A large minority of field land in the village is used primarily for grazing for the many riding establishments in the area. A large section known as Headley Heath is managed by National Trust, and other nearby areas are controlled by Surrey Wildlife Trust and other nature reserves. The heath is part of theMole Gap to Reigate Escarpment Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Most of the population work outside the village: care and rehabilitation work, maintenance, extension work, equestrian work and agriculture being the main areas of work within the village.
Good footpaths for the most mobile connect the village in all directions, particularly to Leatherhead, which lies up to 60m below some of the village.
A typically hourly bus service runs from Dorking to Leatherhead through Headley. A service was provided bySurrey County Council for local children of 5–11 years of age, to the primary schools terminated on 1, September 2006.The 516 Bus runs to Epsom, Leatherhead, Dorking and Box Hill.
A bus service is also provided by St. Andrew's Catholic School, Leatherhead for its pupils (aged 11 to 18).
The village has a Parish Council and its hall hosts clubs including: a computer club, cricket club, gardening club, the Women's Institute and other activities.
The Cock Inn, formerly for a few years the Cock Horse, is the only public house in the village. There is also theRAF Headley Club which is open only to servicemen and women, plus their families of Headley Court.
The Headley Cricket Club was founded in 1893, and now incorporating the Old Freemen's side from nearby City of London Freemen's School. The team play on the ground opposite the main Heath car park, to the south of the village centre and have played in the Surrey Downs League since 2002 on Saturdays and have a Sunday team.
Tyrrells Wood Golf Club is a large private golf course and grounds to the west of the village and partially within the bounds of the parish.
Headley was on the London-Surrey Cycle Classic over the opening weekend of the 2012 London Olympic Games as part of the Box Hill loop, which was covered nine times in the men's event and twice in the women's. With long distance routes in various directions, the roads in and around Headley have become very popular for leisure cycling.