Sheepleas visitor information

Contents

Quick guide and location map

Lovely views throughout the year at this hilly Local Nature Reserve that sits above East and West Horsley in the Surrey Hills National Landscape. Enjoy bluebells in spring, wildflower meadows in summer, autumn colour and panoramic views of London from the viewpoint. Please always follow the Countryside Code.

Quick guide

  • Address and references: Epsom Road, West Horsley, Leatherhead KT24 6AP
    OS map reference: TQ090515
    What3Words: town.flying.fakes
  • Type of site: Local Nature Reserve, woodland
  • Accessibility: not easily accessible for wheelchairs or buggies, start of the route from St Mary's car park is surfaced.
  • Facilities: picnic areas, some including benches, three free car parks. No toilets or refreshments.
  • Nature to discover: butterflies, birds.
  • Dogs: please keep your dog under control.
  • Size: 110 hectares (0.42 square miles).

Location map

On the map below, use the plus symbol to zoom in to see the locations of the site's paths and car parks and the minus symbol to zoom out to view where the site is situated in Surrey, and to see other countryside sites nearby. The home symbol resets the map to the default setting.

Sheepleas has a number of paths leading around the site, including one from the Shere Road Car Park up to St Mary's Church where there are two car parks. There are two paths off Green Dene Road, one leading to Epsom Road and the other to Shere Road. The other paths intersect and offer a number of different walking routes around the site.

The locations of the three car parks are as follows:

  • off A246 (by St Mary's Church) KT24 6AP
  • Shere Road KT24 6EP
  • Green Dene KT24 5TA.

Site details

Description

Located in the Surrey Hills above East and West Horsley, as its name suggests Sheepleas was historically a public site for the grazing of animals. A mixed site of woodland areas and chalk grassland landscape, with plenty of seasonal colour and many trails to wander.

Note that due to its hills and chalk pathways, the area is not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. Francis Corner easy access route at Combe Lane, Shere is nearby.

Please take care of our countryside and open spaces by following the Countryside Code.


What you can do here

  • Varied walking trails - some of them hilly and slippery on the chalk surface
  • Woodland wandering, some ancient woodland and large variety of trees
  • Dog walking - under effective control
  • Family adventure and picnics.

Self-guided walks

There are two trails with signposts at Sheepleas, which are currently being upgraded and re-signposted. Follow the colour coded routes on the information boards in each car park and the signposts along the way.

The Horsley Woodland Trail goes through Sheepleas.


What you can see here and when

  • Great views all year round towards London skyline from the Millennium Viewpoint
  • Spring: carpet of bluebells in the spring, plus violets and primroses.
  • Summer: Wildflower meadows provide natural summer colour, particularly in July. May and June is the flowering time for 12 species of orchid.
  • Nature to discover: many species of birds and mammals can be seen here throughout the year and butterflies can be spotted on sunny days in late spring and summer. Mammals may also be seen here including bats (at dusk) and roe deer. Visit Surrey Wildlife Trust website for more information about what you can see at Sheepleas.

Site management, contact and designations

Site management

We own and manage Sheepleas, including public access, site management and litter bins, car park and visitor services including signposted walking trails.

You will find information about how this site is managed for conservation and the wildlife it supports at Surrey Wildlife Trust.


Contact

Send us any photos you take that you're happy to share on social media, tag @ExploreSurreyUK

If you need to contact us about any issues at Sheepleas, please use one of the options below:


Environmental designations of Sheepleas and what they mean

Surrey Hills National Landscape, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers a quarter of the county of Surrey. The Surrey Hills AONB was created in 1958 for conservation due to its significant landscape value and enjoys levels of protection from development. Find out more about the Surrey Hills.

Ancient Woodlands are areas of persistent undisturbed woodland that have survived since 1600 in England, they are home to many species of plants, fungi and insects so of great benefit to biodiversity.

Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is a special area designated by Natural England as being a natural resource contributing to biodiversity. Local Nature Reserves must be looked after by the local authority in whose area they are located.

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) is a formal designation of conservation. Sites must be kept in a healthy state to protect their special habitats and features.

Latest Updates

Ash Dieback at Sheepleas and site walk

Members of the public who are interested in finding out more about our proposed work in early 2023 to control Ash dieback at Sheepleas are invited to join us for a site walk. Pre-booking is advised by emailing the address noted below.

Ash trees are the third most common native tree in the UK, found in woodlands and other landscape settings. As England's most wooded county, Surrey has a lot of ash trees, which are sadly affected by this disease. Over the coming months you will see some work being done at this site to manage this.

Ash dieback is caused by a non-native fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus that weakens a tree's structure. Affected trees often see their leaves and branches dying higher up the tree, with the tree becoming weak and unpredictable. It is untreatable and it's important it's managed correctly.

Our countryside team are working with partners to manage the risks posed from dying ash trees. Early in 2023, there are plans to remove diseased trees for public safety subject to the granting of relevant licenses and permissions.

Further information is available on our Ash Dieback web page

Files available to download