Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Headley Heath Cake from Ali’s Tea Room

Posted by DaveC | June 8, 2010 | 22 comments so far

Ali's Tea Room on Headley Heath
Hmmmmm… Cake!

Homer and I have cake in common. This was our first taste of Ali’s Tea Room and so I felt it time to dust off the cake review category and type some words.

There we were at the end of May, prime time for all the little kiosks and cafes to make a bit of money in the warm weather. So, when we arrived at the kiosk at the top of Reigate Hill to find it closed I was rather confused! Why on earth would you shut the kiosk for redecorating (3 weeks according to some runners that were there) in peak season? [Update – it’s now re-opened – Matt]

Anyway, at least it was downhill on the way back so we decided that Headley Heath was the next port of call for refreshments. We took on what energy we had with us and headed off.

Now I’ve been around here all of my life and I recall the old tea hut in the Headley car park and never really felt the need to buy anything from it. On reaching the new mobile tea room though we found a number of roadies already there who offered the advice of “pasty and brown sauce” as the ideal choice. Certainly the choice was excellent including all manner of cakes and hot food including the aforementioned pasty, sausage rolls etc. etc…

I opted for a jumbo sausage roll and very nice it was too. Many cakes were sampled and judging by the empty plates I’d say it was all good stuff.

So if you do find yourself in that neck of the woods and fancy some refreshment I don’t think you can go wrong, and they don’t call me Dave the Cake for nothing!

Filed under Cake, Tea-rooms & shops in June 2010


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 22 comments on ‘Headley Heath Cake from Ali’s Tea Room’

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  1. D'AndyC says:

    Any idea on opening days/hours? Nothing worse than eagerly anticipating the cake only to find the outlet closed (as those at the Reigate Hill tea rooms know only too well).

  2. pij says:

    The cafe is run by a woman [Sue?] who brings the trailer up from Worthing every day. Opening times are thus a bit variable, as are closing times – no trade, go home type routine. From memory she never used to open on Monday’s. Be warned the cakes are home made and contain a zillion calories. Sounds a bit, er, a word beginning in ‘g’ but we share a slice between two riders now. One cake for one person can be a bit daunting.

    Reigate Hill was closed as the National Trust didn’t renew the contract with the old crew. Urban Cafe now have it, and they are open but with teething troubles – such as no hot water [I did suggest they buy a kettle, but that met with blank looks]. If you’re not stuck on that place, and to be honest it is a little too upmarket when all you want is a quick brew and bacon banjo, just go to Fanny’s Farm a little down the hill – go down Reigate Hill following the NDW towards the cottages, carry on past until you go through the gate to the school. To the immediate left is a bridleway – follow that until you get to the road. Diagonally across you can see a road going underneath the M25. Take that and ride up it a little way and you’re there. Fanny’s is actually on a bridleway, so an alternative, if bitty, ride home. It is unfortunate that it is effectively at the bottom of the hill and up a nasty country lane. And she is a little eccentric.

    There is also a BP garage down the A217….. Or the Sportsman / Yew Tree etc., etc..


  3. Andrew says:

    It is run by Alison (hence the name). She may have lived in Worthing in the past but now brings the trailer up from Fetcham (just behind Dave). She is open on Mondays having taken on an assistant.

    I recommend the bacon and egg sandwiches.

  4. PIJ says:

    Ha ha! I was bemused by the oldtimers calling her ‘Sue’ hence the brackets and question mark. A name she seemed to accept. And when I spoke to her last year during the snow, she was going on about how bad the weather here was compared to Worthing when she set off…. Suspect she engages in a bit of harmless leg pulling then? It did seem a trifle odd to come all the way from there just to sell a few sarnies to pensionable roadies and grubby mountain bikers. Fetcham seems more reasonable. I am happy to stand corrected on the Monday opening as well!

    Next you’ll be telling me that bikes can be made of carbon fibre and that there is a Chicago based company selling cassettes at over £300 a pop! Ha. I can see through your ruse young man…. pulling the wool on us innocent and gullible oldies.


  5. Andrew says:


    I think she may have lived in Worthing at some point as she did tell us she used to live in Sussex and I know she is only renting the house in Fetcham.

    Pretty sure her name isn’t Sue though. Her previous trailer had A&B on it for Ali and Brian (her hubbie who runs the snack hut at Bookham Equestrian Centre events).

    She didn’t used to open on Mondays as I discovered to my cost and has only started in the last year or so.

    We tend to use her place on rides out that way as Box Hill doesn’t do any freshly cooked bacon and egg sarnies. Obviously, not as sweet toothed as the Moles, although her cakes did look inviting (and as you noted highly calorific).

  6. D'AndyC says:

    “her cakes did look inviting (and as you noted highly calorific)”

    This must be a mandatory stop for the Moles next time we’re at Box Hill/Headley. I suspect a secondary stop at Box Hill for immediate comparison purposes will be on the cards, too.

  7. Dave says:

    Calories smalories.

    Given a normal Sunday ride for me is 3k calories I won’t let it worry me!

    Eat on!

    Given that Sue runs the NT Cakeshop at Box Hill I wonder if some people are just getting plain confused.

  8. paul901 says:

    Egg & Bacon sarnie! Now you’re talking.

    If the Sunday ride heads off South, West or North from Bocketts or even a Bracknell ride don’t be surprised if I can’t be found anywhere. I’ll be on Headley Heath scoffing.

    Had a 3 hour ride on the road today despite struggling to peddle on the Whyte on Sunday. Coldharbour Lane round Leith Hill and then made it up Combe Lane this time without stopping having 25 miles in my legs at that point. A great ride for me and I know I’m already earning that Sunday sarnie.

  9. Xavier says:

    You may wish to sample Alison’s lovely Breakfast Sandwich. This consists of: egg, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and tomato. mmmm. The cakes are indeed homemade and lovely. I haven’t been there for a while as I now mostly do night rides and take a pub pit stop instead. The cafe used to be run by her and her mother from a 60 year old static trailer.

  10. paul901 says:

    So much for that breakfast at Newlands Corner I anticipated in the June comment. On that day the Newlands Corner climb was too much for me and I was in no state to eat. I was the same at this Headley Heath visit Dave has posted about. However, a month on from then I ordered one of their home made pasties and it was not the heavy stomach ballast I assumed but in fact a nicer affair altogether and won’t be my last. I’m beginning to get the hang of these cake stops.

  11. Muddymoles says:

    Ride report: Sunday 5 December – Slushy

    A winter’s ride in the snow to Reigate for the Muddymoles this week turned out to be an excellent way to spend a Sunday.

  12. Related: 2012 Olympic Road Race Route | johnm55

  13. queenkate says:

    Has Alison gone? Haven’t been to her for a few months and went past today and noticed a completely different outfit and people selling refreshments. Have been going to her for over 30 years.

  14. Alison says:

    Hi this is Alison who runs headley’s Ali s tea shop
    Yes we are still there but unfortunately I had my husband in hospital just before Christmas with a stroke & then just after Christmas my gearbox blow up on my van so I haven’t been there much
    Sorry about that everybody but back now 6 days a week all year round from 10.30am till 4.30 5 pm.except Monday’s . Monday’s baking day

    • Dandy says:

      Great to hear from you, Alison; though sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. We all wish him a speedy recovery. Glad to hear the van is now fixed, so we’ll plan our stops for when we’re next out that way for after 10.30.

  15. Linda says:

    Where is Ali now. ? Just been to Headley and a pathetic kiosk is now there . No cake no burgers etc. What gas happened????

  16. Alison says:

    Hi there, this is Alison from Ali’s tea shop
    I’m afraid I had to give Headley up because it became so expensive. The national trust got so greedy it went from £10.000 to nearly £ just wasn’t viable anymore. What with £4 parking up there plus no toilet’s it just got to much in the end. But thank you everyone for supporting us over the year’s.hope to see you all again some day bye…bye…

  17. Sophie Covobay says:

    Hi Alison
    I was very sad to see yesterday you were no longer at Headley Heath. I haven’t been there for a few years. My Mother in Law had a stroke and as we came from Windsor, we never got the opportunity to go to Headley, until yesterday. You would know who we were, as my husband had 6 sugars in his tea and never got out the car! We had been regular customers of yours for well over 30 years, when your family ran the caravan tea shop. Occasionally, I would park my Motorhome in the car park, on the way home from our holiday.
    I asked the lady running the tea shop, where you were and she told me your husband had a stroke. I do hope he has recovered and everything is well with you.
    You ran the best tea shop in the south of England. Lovely hot tea, homemade cakes and pasties. You also gave it a personal touch, with providing trays, friendly chat, marking the cups for each person and you always remembered me. I feel very sad you have gone and Headley Heath NT has lost an asset to their area.

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