Countryside

One of our countryside officers talks about the management works at West End.

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

Find out more about the forestry works on West End Common in Autumn 2019, including thinning of the canopy, removal of invasive species and creation and maintenance of ride and glades.

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 countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Countryside Team, please see the volunteering page.   

Free countryside events

Bat Walk - Friday 27 September, meet at 7pm
Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, opposite Blackhills, nearest postcode KT10 9JQ
Find out more about these fascinating creatures with the Countryside Officer. The walk will last between 1.5 and 2 hours. Please, no dogs or wind up torches.

Fungi Walks
Wednesday 2 October, 10.30am to 12.30pm. Meet in Copsem Lane car park, Esher KT10 9HH
Sunday 6 October, 10am to 12pm. Meet in Copsem Lane car park, Esher KT10 9HH 
Thursday 24 October, 10.30am to 12.30pm. Meet in Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, Esher KT10 9JQ
Sunday 27 October, 10am to 12pm. Meet in Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, Esher KT10 9JQ
There are over 3000 species of fungus on Esher Common, find out about some on these fungi explorations.

Wild at play event - Sunday 27 October, drop in 10am to 12pm  
Meet: Copsem Lane car park, Esher – nearest car park KT10 9HQ. Follow the arrows from there.
Enjoy some autumnal family outdoor fun in the Elmbridge countryside with seasonal crafts, den building, sand play, arts, bug hunting and more… Suitable for all ages. No booking required – just pop along and stay as long as you want. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Festive wreath making - Sunday 1 December, 10.30am to 12pm
King George’s Hall (adjacent to Civic Centre), High Street, Esher KT10 9RA
Make a wreath out of materials from the commons. Popular event. Limited spaces. Book early on 01372 474575 or email the Countryside Team.

Christmas pine pull on Esher Common - Sunday 8 December, drop-in 10.30am - 2.30pm
Follow signs from Horseshoe Clump car park (opposite Blackhills), Portsmouth Road, Esher, nearest postcode KT10 9JL or Copsem Lane car park, Copsem Lane, Esher, nearest postcode KT10 9HH
Help the Countryside Team pull pine to restore the heathland and choose your own table top mini Christmas tree to take home. Festive craft activities for children. Hot chocolate and biscuits provided.

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 countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk.

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