Surrey is England's most wooded county, with woodland covering over a fifth of the county, approximately 24%. A quarter of these are recorded as ancient woodland, areas rich in wildlife that have been part of our landscape for centuries. Surrey's desirability as a place to live, work and visit is closely linked to its pleasant rural environment.
Woodlands are looked after by a variety of organisations such as Surrey Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission and the Woodland Trust, as well as many private landowners.
You may know of a small woodland site near you where you can enjoy spring-time's annual treat of a carpet of bluebells in the undisturbed woodland or take a look at the National Trust Surrey Hills list for ideas.
With so much woodland across the county, it's impossible to list all sites, below is a short list of some popular ones. Your local district or borough website should be able to provide information on woods local to you. Or you can enter your postcode on Surrey Wildlife Trust's Great Woodland Walks section to find a woodland walk near you.
- Ashtead Common, looked after by the City of London Corporation, is a 500 acre ancient woodland and one of four National Nature Reserves in the county.
- Banstead Woods, near Chipstead, is an amazing resource for wildlife and people, 250 acres of ancient woodland with a recorded history stretching back for nearly a thousand years.
- Bourne Wood, near Farnham, managed by the Forestry Commission is a large area of open heathland as well as woodland walks.
- Alice Holt Forest, also near Farnham, is a popular location with forest trails and a large visitor centre.
- Langley Vale, near Epsom, is being developed by the Woodland Trust as England's only centenary woodland to mark those who lost their lives in the First World War. 140 acres of mainly ancient woodland will be linked by woodland trails where 200,000 native trees are being planted.
- Staffhurst Woods, in east Surrey, is a fragment of the 'wildwood' that once covered southern England and great for getting away from it all.
Surrey's Tree Strategy and advice
Surrey has an ambitious tree strategy launched in 2019, with the aim of planting 1.2 million new trees by 2030, to help combat climate change. Find out more on the Greener Futures Tree Strategy page.
Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) has been discovered in Surrey. There is more information on which sites are affected on our Ash Dieback webpage or by visiting Surrey Wildlife Trust's Ash Dieback webpage.
Several organisations listed below provide services that support Surrey woodland and are useful sources of further information.
- Surrey and Sussex Coppice Group for coppicing information, products and events
- Merrist Wood College provide a range of woodland management courses
- Small Woods Association supports wood practitioners and exchange good practice
- The Tree Council is the UK's lead charity for trees
- Woodnet includes a directory of timber, equipment and training providers