If there is one positive to have come out of lockdown, it is the discovery of some many wonderful walks, open spaces and parks that are right on our doorstep. Like many families, it’s all too easy to pick destinations that are further afield, but this often means you miss some incredible places that are close by. One of our most recent discoveries has been Epsom Common. And it’s definitely going to become a firm favourite.
Exploring Epsom Common Nature Reserve
With the sun shining and the boys keen to stretch their legs, we decided to spend a few hours wandering the Stew Ponds and although it was busy with cyclists, dog walkers and families also looking to enjoy the outdoors, there are several areas where you can find solitude away from the masses.
The ponds and surrounding woodland are full of wildlife – the Common is actually the largest nature reserve in the county. Not only is it a significant breeding ground for birds, but it also contains a range of distinctive habitats to animals and insects of national and international importance.
We spotted quite a few species during our Epsom Common walk. While the only sign of the shoals of fish was through the ripples of the water, we saw several majestic herons, as well as purple emperor butterflies fluttering in the wind. Our most exciting and rather terrifying wildlife encounter, however, was in the woods. The ground was moving with hundreds of baby frogs making their way to the water. It was fascinating to watch and the kids loved being able to get close to them. However, we also had to be vigilant in where we were stepping to avoid any accidental squishing!
From Roe Deer to cattle, to all sorts of insects, flora and fauna including pretty marsh orchids, as well as den building, there is much to discover in the 438 acres of natural environment. And probably the easiest way to get around it all is by bike – or even horse! For keen anglers, there is even fishing in the Stew Pond – although the fishing spots are perfect resting areas for tired little legs…
Kids will love being able to roam freely, and while we stuck to the areas around the pond, we felt like we managed to explore quite a vast chunk – well, as much as we could with a three-year-old in tow.
With some families enjoying a picnic, others just enjoying the views and leisurely strolls, Epsom Common is little haven right in the middle of a busy town.
Guide to Epsom Common
• Epsom Common is located in Epsom in Surrey, and close to the Ashtead Common and Horton Park and is open all year-round
• It is an area of natural importance and a breeding site for birds.
• Epsom Common car park is located on Christchurch Road. It is free to park but be aware there aren’t hundreds of spaces. Other access points include:
– Wells Road near the crossroads
– Castle Road
– Wheelers Lane
– Bramble Walk
– Bracken Path
– Stamford Green Road
– Manor Park pedestrian crossing
– Christchurch Road horse crossing and entrance opposite Horton Lane
– Woodcock Corner (via Ashtead Common)
• A hard-surfaced all-weather track follows the perimeter of the main part of the Common over 4.8km, so it is fairly accessible and flat.
• You can download a map of Epsom Common here