Great Ridings Wood

This 70 acre site is steeped in history, brimming with wildlife and a delight to walk in.

It contains a mix of woodland of different ages including some introduced species such as Scots pine and western red cedar. There’s also a charming wildlife pond.

Entry points on foot are at the top of Heath View and also at the furthest end of High Park Avenue but, take note, there is no parking. Once in the wood, walkers have the option of taking a circular way-marked route or wander along any of the three miles of footpaths that criss-cross the site.

Clues to the age of this ancient woodland are provided by ‘indicator’ plants such as bluebells, wood anemone and common spotted orchid and they suggest it can be traced back at least 1000 years to Saxon times.

The site is split by Old London Lane, a packhorse route of bygone times from Tillingbourne Valley to London, and contains earth banks, some still standing up to six feet high.

Many of the wood’s hornbeams have been coppiced (cut back), identifiable by the ring of trunks growing from one single base. For centuries, this woodland practice provided a ready supply of poles and timber for both domestic and industrial use.

The pond adds to the wildlife diversity and is home to frogs, newts and dragonflies.

The wood changes with the seasons and there is always something new to see so why not pay a visit?