Bookham Commons' varied landscapes, from ancient oak woods to grassland plains and tranquil ponds, support an abundance of wildlife, which can be heard and seen throughout the seasons. Listen out for tuneful nightingales and warblers in the spring, and in summer look for insects hovering over the ponds. If you're lucky, you may also spot the beautiful, but elusive, purple emperor butterfly. Bookham Commons is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and since 1941 the London Natural History Society has been carrying out a survey of the wildlife, making it one of the best recorded and thoroughly studied areas in the country.
Also in the area
About the area
Surrey may be better known for its suburbia than its scenery, but the image is unjust. Over a quarter of the county’s landscapes are official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and along the downs and the greensand ridge you can gaze to distant horizons with hardly a building in sight. This is one of England’s most wooded counties, and has more village greens than any other shire. You’ll find sandy tracks and cottage gardens, folded hillsides and welcoming village inns. There’s variety, too, as the fields and meadows of the east give way to the wooded downs and valleys west of the River Mole.
Of course there are also large built-up areas, mainly within and around the M25; but even here you can still find appealing visits and days out. On the fringe of Greater London you can picnic in Chaldon’s hay meadows, explore the wide open downs at Epsom, or drift idly beside the broad reaches of the stately River Thames. Deep in the Surrey countryside you’ll discover the Romans at Farley Heath, and mingle with the monks at England’s first Cistercian monastery. You’ll see buildings by great architects like Edwin Lutyens and Sir George Gilbert Scott, and meet authors too, from John Donne to Agatha Christie.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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