Surrey is England's most wooded county, with woodland covering over a fifth of the county, approximately 24%. A quarter of these woods are recorded as ancient woodland, areas rich in wildlife that have been part of the Surrey 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. The Countryside Estate owned by Surrey County Council is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust.
With so much woodland across the county, it's impossible to list them all, below is a short list of some popular sites. 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 only 3 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. Another popular local site is Alice Holt Forest, with its forest trails and 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.
Several organisations listed below provide services that support Surrey woodland and are useful sources of further information.
- Living Woodlands project in East Surrey
- 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