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

  • Orienteering - Tuesday 19 February - Start between 2pm and 3pm - Horseshoe Clump car park (opposite Blackhills), Portsmouth Road, Esher KT10 9JL. Test your navigation skills on one of the permanent orienteering courses
  • Welly Walk - *Event Cancelled* Wednesday 20 February. Meet at 1.30pm. Arbrook Common car park, Arbrook Lane, Claygate, nearest postcode KT10 9EG. Enjoy a short walk on Arbrook Common, with a stop at the end to play and enjoy a hot chocolate.

  • Wild at Play - Sunday 24 February. Drop in between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Follow signs from the car park. Copsem Lane car park, Copsem Lane, nearest postcode KT10 9HQ. Den building, toasting marshmallows, arts and crafts, bug hunting ... Take your pick!   

  • Pond dip - Sunday 24 March. Drop in between 10am and 12pm. Littleworth Common, opposite Café Rouge, Esher, nearest postcode KT10 9AD. Come and find out what is living beneath the surface of Littleworth Pond. 

  • Survival skills - Monday 8 April. 11am to 12.45pm. West End Common. Booking essential. Learn how to light a fire and keep it going, toast marshmallows and enjoy fire cooked baked potatoes.

  • River dipping and mini raft making - Wednesday 10 April. 10am to 11pm. Arbrook Common, Claygate nearest postcode KT10 9EG. Discover what is living in the River Rythe and build a mini raft to float on it.

  • Forest School Camp. Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 April and Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18 April.  6 sessions in total from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Copsem Lane, Esher nearest postcode KT10 9HQ. Booking essential, places are strictly limited. Please ensure you can attend at least 5 sessions when you book. Suitable for 3 to 7 year olds. Activities include natural arts and crafts, small tool use, den building and fire lighting. Please contact the Countryside Team to book.

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.    

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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