Countryside visitor information Summer 2021
We welcome local visitors to Surrey's countryside but ask you to:
- Have a Plan B if your chosen site is too busy and the car park is full
- Take note of the Countryside Code as well as social distancing rules
- #staylocal #takeyourlitterhome #controlyourdogs #respectwildlife
All car parks are open at our countryside sites but it is important that residents and visitors still follow government advice for the countryside area you are visiting and that you continue to maintain social distancing. Please see the COVID-19 restrictions advice on Gov.uk.
Visitors with any concerns whilst on site can contact Surrey Police.
The cafés and toilets are now open at Ockham Common and Newlands Corner. Temporary toilets are in place at Newlands Corner while essential work is carried out this spring and summer. The toilets will remain open during the day, however the closing time at the end of the day may vary. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Please note that Surrey Police will temporarily shut countryside car parks if they consider they are too busy for safe visitor numbers.
Newlands Corner, near Guildford, provides one of the best views from the North Downs in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is an attractive site in its own right. It has been well used as a stop off point for refreshments and a start for walking, horse riding and cycling for decades. In the 1970s, Surrey County Council (SCC) negotiated an access agreement over the site with the landowners, the Albury Estate, to provide public access to the site and install visitor facilities such as the toilets and car park.
As of 1 April 2020, SCC Natural Capital teams have taken on responsibility for the management of sites like Newlands Corner, whilst Surrey Wildlife Trust will continue to provide habitat and conservation management on this and other sites within Surrey's Countryside Estate. As well as delivering the council's investment in improvements to our countryside, this will enable residents of all walks of life to access green space.
These three parties, the Albury Estate, SCC and Surrey Wildlife Trust, are now working together to improve facilities and make sure people of all ages and abilities can enjoy spending time at Newlands Corner.
Proposed natural play area and other improvements
We have submitted proposals to Central Government for approval that include the following improvements to the range and quality of facilities available to visitors of Newlands Corner.
- Natural timber play area - located within the area between the café and toilet buildings where the previous play area was installed.
- Improved picnic area - located at various points near the cafe building.
- Relocating the bin store fenced area - now to be located north of the motorbike parking area on the far side of the natural path.
- A freestanding bottle filling water fountain - located to the west of the visitor centre building, on the grass area next to the hedge.
Following the feedback on our previous proposals for a natural play trail over a larger area, these new proposals are for a natural play area that covers a much smaller area. The installation has been designed to merge with and reflect the natural surroundings and will be constructed with locally sourced timber from sustainably managed forests on the Albury Estate in Guildford. To see an example of a similar natural play area, please visit our Chinthurst Hill car park, Guildford, GU5 0PS.
We are proposing to install a mix of 16 new and existing picnic tables along with some additional natural tree stump and log seating. The proposed new bottle filling water fountain is the Elkay LK4400BF.
We are also proposing to enhance the existing hedges through the planting of appropriate native woodland shrub and understorey species. This will help provide additional screening around the play and picnic areas and would act as both a fence and sound barrier.
If you'd like to receive copies of our application, a full description of the proposed works, the site plans and other drawings, please email our Countryside Estate Team firstname.lastname@example.org.
Film Crews based at Newlands Corner
Film crews are often using Newlands as a filming base around the area. These are planned with our Countryside Events Team and the income generated from this goes back into countryside improvements and upkeep of sites within our Countryside Estate. We will keep you up to date on when they are expected to be based at the far end of the carpark, but access for countryside users is unaffected.
Dates for filming will be added to this page once confirmed.
Changes we are making at Newlands Corner
Planned work to the toilets and Visitor Centre
We began refurbishing the toilets in February and they are now open (July 2021). We're connecting the new toilets using a mains water and foul water drainage system and converting them from the old tank and pump system. These works will take approximately 12 weeks to complete and are due to start during July 2021. The new toilets will be operational for the duration of these works. Contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Upgrading work is also happening inside the newly-named Discovery Centre which is the original Visitor Centre building. This is due for completion by September 2021.
An accessible trail exists on the bridleway behind the visitor centre and has been there for many years. External grant funding has been sought to improve the signage and works to be carried out in July 2021.
Out of all the feedback received from the public consultation in 2017, the majority focused on the prospect of having a new visitor centre. The original plan was to bring all the visitor facilities, including the cafe and an education room together in one building, which would provide the indoor seating that's needed. In view of public feedback, we won't be considering any other proposals for the time being.
Anything new would not only be subject to all the normal planning regulations and consultations, but would be developed in partnership with current and potential users, including families, elderly people and people with disabilities, all of whom we are trying to encourage to come to Newlands Corner by improving the facilities.