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
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
Fungi walk – Sunday 14 October. Meet at 10 am, Copsem Lane car park, Copsem Lane, nearest postcode KT10 9HH. There are over 3000 species of fungus on Esher Common. Find out about some of them on this fungi foray.
Wild at Play - Sunday 28 October. Drop in between 10.30am and 12noon. Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road (opposite Blackhills), Esher, nearest postcode KT10 9JQ. Follow the signs from the car park. Activities for all ages: den building, sand play, arts and crafts, ball runs, bug hunting, binoculars etc.
Fungi walk – Sunday 4 November. Meet at 10 am, Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road (opposite Blackhills), Esher, nearest postcode KT10 9JQ. There are over 3000 species of fungus on Esher Common. Find out about some of them on this fungi foray.
Toddler Time - Friday 9 November. Meet at 10.45am, Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road (opposite Blackhills), nearest postcode KT10 9JQ. Toddler Time is aimed at pre-schoolers and their carers. Theme: hedgehogs.
Orienteering – Saturday 10 November. Drop in between 9.30am and 11.30am. Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road (opposite Blackhills), nearest postcode KT10 9JQ.
Wreath making - Sunday 2 December. 12noon to 2pm. Elmgrove Hall, Hersham Road, Walton KT12 1LH. Make a festive wreath with materials from the commons. Free event but donation for the Mayor's charity welcome. This event is popular and spaces are limited. Book early: email Countryside Team or call 01372 474575
Christmas Toddler Time in the Wild - Friday 7 December - 10.45am to 11.45am. Festive arts and crafts using natural materials found on the common. Old Common, Old Common Road, nearest postcode KT11 1BX (meet before Old Common Road goes under A3 bridge by bar gate). Free event.
Christmas Pine Pull - Sunday 9 December - Drop in between 10.30am to 2.30pm - Follow the signs from Horseshoe Clump car park (opposite Blackhills), Portsmouth Road, Esher KT10 9JL and Copsem Lane car park, Copsem Lane, Esher nearest postcode KT10 9HH. Help the countryside team pull pine from the heathland and choose your own table top mini-Christmas tree to take home and decorate. Free event. Hot chocolate and biscuits provided.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Unless event is drop in please arrive at the meeting point at the start time. Our car parks don’t have postcodes, the postcodes given are the nearest, please contact us if you are unsure of the location.
Seasonal mushroom walks and talks
Wednesday 31 October - 10.30am to 12.30pm. Meet in Horseshoe Clump car park, Portsmouth Road (opposite Blackhills), Esher, nearest postcode KT10 9JQ
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.