Elmbridge has 20 countryside sites, which cover approximately 550 hectares. The largest countryside site is Esher Commons SSSI.
You can find out more in the Elmbridge Countryside leaflet:
• Exploring the Elmbridge Countryside Part 1 - shows the wealth of things to do on the Commons
• Exploring the Elmbridge Countryside Part 2 - map detailing the layout of the Commons.
Esher Commons SSSI
The Esher Commons cover 360 hectares – 4% of the Borough. They run from Esher to Cobham, Oxshott to West End and are said to date back to Medieval times. They contain a wide range of habitats, including woodland, heathland and wetland and support a variety of wildlife, including rare butterfly, beetle and reptile species.
In 1995, The Esher Commons were designated by the Government as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for their wildlife diversity. Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are the country's very best wildlife and geological sites. There are over 4,000 SSSIs in England. SSSIs support rare plants and animals that now find it difficult to survive in the wider countryside. To find out more about SSSIs and why it is important to maintain them, see the Natural England and Forestry Commission websites.
Find out what to look for and see on the commons by using the enclosed maps:
Current management works on Esher Commons
Woodland Management - Leigh Hill Common - find out more about the thinning works scheduled for this winter 2017-2018 on Leigh Hill Common and see the video at the bottom of the page.
Woodland Management - West End Common - find out more about the forestry works scheduled for Autumn 2017 on West End Common, including thinning of the canopy, removal of invasive species and creation and maintenance of ride and glades.
Esher Commons SSSI regeneration plan - find out more about the screening shelter belt regeneration on the south side of the A3 and the thinning works on Esher Commons
The current management works form part of a wider Countryside Strategy which was adopted to strike a balance between nature conservation, recreation and use of green spaces. For further information on any aspects of Countryside Management, please contact the countryside team.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Countryside Team, please see the volunteering page.
Family countryside events
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Unless the event is drop in please arrive at the event start time.
Christmas Pine Pull, Sunday 17 December, drop in between 10.30 am and 2.30 pm Follow signs from Copsem Lane car park and Horseshoe Clump car park
Toddler Time, Christmas, Friday 8 December, 11am – 12 noon. Old Common, Old Common Road, nearest postcode KT11 1BX (meet before Old Common Road goes under A3 bridge by bar gate)
Orienteering courses around Esher Commons
Orienteering is a great way to learn to find your way around the commons. It does not matter how young, old or fit you are, as you can run, walk or jog the course and progress at your own pace. There are 5 orienteering routes available on the commons, depending on how far you want to go : yellow A - 1.5 kms / yellow B - 1.7 kms / orange - 2.3 kms / light green - 3.5 kms / blue - 4.7 kms. For more information and to receive the detailed maps, please contact the Countryside Team.