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

Wild at play event - Sunday 2 February, drop-in 10.30am to 12pm  
Meet: Copsem Lane car park, Esher – nearest car park KT10 9HQ. Follow the arrows from there.
Enjoy some 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.

Bird box building - Tuesday 18 February - 2.30pm   *February half-term event*
Location:
Civic Centre, High Street, Esher KT10 9SD
There are never enough holes and hideaways where our feathered friends can shelter. Help them by making a nestbox in time for spring. Free event. Spaces limited. Booking essential at countryside@elmbridge.gov.uk  

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.

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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