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 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

Junior Rangers - Survival Skills -  Wednesday 30 May - 10.30am to 1pm 
Learn how to make a fire, enjoy fire baked jacket potatoes and toast marshmallows! Booking essential, spaces are limited. Email the Countryside Team or call 01372 474575 to book.  

Den building - Thursday 31 May - 2.30pm to 4pm
Can you build a den to withstand the elements? Meet at 1.30pm. Copsem Lane car park, Copsem Lane,Meet at 8pm in Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, opposite Blackhills, nearest postcode KT10 9JQ 
Learn more about the local fascinating bats.  

Wild at Play - Sunday 24 June - drop in between 10.30am and 12noon. Oxshott sandpit (signs from Oxshott Heath car park too, near station)

Pond dip - Thursday 26 July - drop in between 2.30pm and 4pm. Chequers Pond, West End Lane, nearest postcode KT10 8LF

Den building - Monday 30 July - 10.30am to 12.30pm. Copsem Lane car park, Copsem Lane, nearest postcode KT10 9HQ

Survival Skills - Wednesday 8 August - meet at 10.30am. Booking essential. West End. Email the Countryside Team or call 01372 474575 to book. 

Orienteering - Thursday 9 August - start between 10.30am and 12noon. Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, opposite Blackhills, nearest postcode KT10 9JQ

Wild at Play - Sunday 19 August - drop in between 10.30am and 12noon. Follow signs from Horseshoe Clump car park, nearest postcode KT10 9JQ.

Beautiful Bugs - Wednesday 22 August - Drop in between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Old Common Road, Cobham, nearest postcode KT11 1BX

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.

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