Wisley and Ockham Commons

Contents

Quick guide and location map

Discover these delightful commons near RHS Wisley where you can enjoy their heathland colour whilst exploring historic sites and the diversity of nature. Please always follow the Countryside Code.

Quick guide

  • Address and references:
    Wisley site: Wisley Lane, Wisley GU23 6QA
    Ockham site: Hatch Lane, Ockham KT11 1NR
    What3Words and OS references for sites
  • Type of site: Local Nature Reserve, heathland
  • Accessibility: accessible toilets at Boldermere car park where there is a café, but most paths unsuitable for wheelchairs, buggies or people with limited mobility.
  • Facilities: onsite toilets and refreshments, three free car parks.
  • Nature to discover: birds, dragonflies, butterflies and minibeasts.
  • Dogs: please keep your dog under control.
  • Size: 297 hectares (733 acres).

Location map

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

Site details

Description

These commons cover 800 acres of predominantly heathland situated on either side of junction 10, joining the M25 motorway to the A3. Situated near to the famous RHS Wisley Gardens, the commons are a beautiful landscape and open space to get away from it all. Chatley Heath forms part of the commons.

As well as beautiful natural habitats such as Boldermere Lake and the wildlife that visits, there are also some interesting man-made features. Built in 1822, the historic Semaphore tower sits at Chatley Heath on the south-east side of Ockham common. Hidden in the woodland close to this is the Samuelson Mausoleum, built in 1919 by Sir Henry Samuelson to be a 'Temple of sleep' for his family. We acquired the building and surrounding land in 1992.

Please take care of our countryside and open spaces, particularly areas of heathland where fire risk is high and follow the Countryside Code.


What you can do here

  • Take long walks using the footbridge joining Wisley and Ockham commons
  • Enjoy dog walking - under effective control
  • Bird and nature-watching
  • Discover historic sites
  • Discover Boldermere Lake on Ockham Common
  • Family strolls on sandy paths and picnics

Self-guided walks

There are trails with signposts on the commons that are being updated. Follow the colour coded routes on the information board and the signposts along the way. Here are some other walking options:


What you can see here and when

  • Abundant heather on the heathland from late summer.
  • Nature to discover: dragonflies and damselflies recorded in summer. Many species of bird found at both sites throughout the year and some mammals, including roe deer. Browse the Surrey Wildlife Trust Wildlife Explorer to find out more about the wildlife that can be seen in Surrey.

Facilities

  • Three free car parks
  • Ockham Bites café with picnic benches outside at Boldermere car park
  • Visitor centre open with tables inside at Boldermere car park
  • Toilet facilities including accessible at Boldermere car park
  • Picnic benches and level grassy area at the foot of the Semaphore Tower.

Nearest postcodes for site, What3Words and OS reference

On the Ockham side :

  • Boldermere Car Park postcode KT11 1NR
  • Pond Car Park postcode: KT11 1NR
  • What3Words: strain.random.galaxy
  • OS map reference: TQ080590

On the Wisley side:

  • Wren's Nest Car Park postcode: GU23 6QA
  • What3Words: trader.unless.foil

Site management, contact and designations

Site management

Wisley and Ockham Commons are owned and managed by Surrey County Council for public access including site management and litter bins, car parks and the visitor centre next door to Ockham Bites café.

You will find information about how this site is managed for conservation, including the grazing of cattle and the wildlife to look out for 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 on Wisley or Ockham commons, please use one of the options below:


Environmental designations of Wisley and Ockham commons and what they mean

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is a formal conservation designation. Usually, it describes an area that's of particular interest to science due to the rare species of fauna or flora found onsite.

Wisley and Ockham Commons are part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA). This is a designation under the European Directive relating to the conservation of wild birds.

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