- Main Wikipedia article: River Mole
The River Mole is a tributary of the River Thames in south east England. The Mole rises in West Sussex south of the village centre of Rusper, north of Horsham, in Rusper civil and ecclesiastical parish. It collects wealden streams from the Worth/Tilgate/Holmwood forest flowing eastwards to almost encircle Gatwick Airport after which is flows generally northwards passing Horley, Salfords, Leigh, Reigate Heath, through Buckland, Brockham and Betchworth then passing Pixham (a village by Dorking), Westhumble, Mickleham, Leatherhead, circuitously Cobham, Hersham and Esher to meet the Thames between East Molesey and Thames Ditton.
The Westhumble/Mickleham stretch is the shallowest in Surrey as in summer a large proportion of the flow at this point here is underground. This stretch and tidal action in previous epochs helped to carve 'the Mole Gap' beside Box Hill from the North Downs. Its passage underground has been linked with its name 'the mole' since at least Speed's map of 1610, marked 'the river passeth under', and academics debate whether the river was named after this attribute or not. The return of the waters is easily seen from springs in the water meadows at Fetcham, near Leatherhead. The river passing under through a chalk stratum known. In this brief, shallow mid-section the North Downs Way can be taken over traditional stepping stones or a nearby bridge. This route with part of the prehistoric Harrow Way from Folkestone to part of Salisbury Plain (Stonehenge and Avebury) via Winchester, with a later detour by Pilgrims to Canterbury.
The Mole has one named corollary, the Ember which has been enlarged and weir-controlled for flood prevention passing by fields and nature reserves of Hersham and Molesey on the left bank and homes of Esher and Thames Ditton on the right bank. This rejoins the Mole west of the trees and petrol station along the A309, Hampton Court Way about 200 metres from its mouth.
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