Countryside

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 - 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 countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk.

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

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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