Countryside

Open spaces

Service updates in relation to coronavirus – (COVID-19) 

While we have not yet been instructed by government to ask residents and visitors to keep away from open spaces, we are asking everyone to follow the government guidance: you can still use open spaces to exercise once a day - running, walking or cycling – alone or with members of your household. Do not gather there in groups. Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public, excluding people you live with. Visiting green open spaces has physical and mental health benefits that everyone can enjoy but we urge you to respect the government’s guidance to remain safe.

If people do not respect the social distancing guidance and therefore put each other at risk of potentially spreading or catching the virus, we will have to review access to the parks and open spaces on  a case by case basis and in line with government guidance. 

Please take responsibility for your own safety and stay safe.

For further information, email greenspaces@elmbridge.gov.uk, call 01372 474474 or see our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.  


 

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

* Cancelled * Pond dip - Saturday 21 March - 10am to 12pm - drop-in event
Meet: Littleworth Common pond, Portsmouth Road, opposite Café Rouge, nearest postcode KT10 9AD
The local ponds are full of life, and now’s the time to come and find out what’s living there! Discover the creatures in
Littleworth pond and enjoy other pond related activities! Don’t forget to put on your wellies and bring a net if you have one.

* Cancelled * Orienteering - Saturday 21 March - start your course between 1pm and 2.30pm
Meet: Meet in Horsesehoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road, opposite Blackhills, Esher, nearest postcode KT10 9JL
A great activity to do as a family. It teaches children map reading skills and is a fun way to discover wildlife in your local woodland.
 
All children must be accompanied by an adult at countryside events.  

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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