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Explore Surrey: Elstead Common

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Explore Surrey: Elstead Common
Author: exploresurrey, Published: 24 Feb 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Explore Surrey: Elstead Commonstar1 Explore Surrey: Elstead Commonstar1 Explore Surrey: Elstead Commonstar1 Explore Surrey: Elstead Commonstar1 Explore Surrey: Elstead Common
Surrey, Elstead
Walk Type: Woodland
Explore Surrey: Elstead Common
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Explore Surrey: Elstead Common
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0006_mist Explore Surrey: Elstead CommonToday's weather
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0009_light_rain_showers Explore Surrey: Elstead Common 0004_black_low_cloud Explore Surrey: Elstead Common 0007_fog Explore Surrey: Elstead Common 0006_mist Explore Surrey: Elstead Common 0018_cloudy_with_heavy_rain Explore Surrey: Elstead Common

A 7 km (4.5 mile) easy access walk around Elstead Common, enjoying sections of woodland, open areas of heath and several ponds and streams. This walk is part of the Explore Surrey collection, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and Surrey County Council.

The walk is generally flat with only a few gentle gradients and can be lengthened or shortened to meet your own requirements. All the paths are wide tracks and there are no stiles, gates or steps on route. The first mile stretch is on a tarmac track and the next 0.75 miles follows a compacted stone track (which can have some shallow surface mud). By following these paths there and back (a total of 3.5 miles) this version would be suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and disability buggies for most of the year. The remainder of the route follows unmade dirt and sand tracks that are all wide but can be very soft underfoot so wellies are a must in the winter. Dogs are welcome on the common, in fact it is a popular dog walking spot. The common is an MOD training area so visitors are asked to comply with all instructions and byelaws on noticeboards. Allow 2 hours.

There are no toilets or other facilities on the walk itself. If you are looking for refreshments before or after your walk, there is a choice of three pubs in Elstead village (The Woolpack, The Golden Fleece and The Mill) just a mile from the start of the walk. Ordnance Survey Map: Explorer 145 Guildford and Farnham. This walk follows public footpaths and bridleways which cross private and public land. Information is included for your interest, but please respect people’s privacy, keep dogs under control and remember the Countryside Code.

Elstead village is located on the B3001, about half way between Farnham and the A3 junction at Milford. The walk starts and finishes from the Royal Common parking area on the B3001, about one mile east of the village. It is large stone parking lay-by with space for about 12 cars and has no height restriction barrier. The post code GU8 6LA will take you to the eastern end of Elstead village. From here, continue east on the B3001, keep right at the fork (signed A3) and 0.2 miles later you will find the parking area on the right (by a sign for a public bridleway). If you are coming by bus, the nearest stop is in Elstead village itself. For help with planning your journey by public transport please visit

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Walk Sections

Start to Royal Common Pond
Start to Royal Common Pond

Start point: 51.181 lat, -0.683 long
End point: 51.1747 lat, -0.6835 long

From the parking area, pass through the wide gap alongside the gate. Take a moment to read the byelaws on the noticeboard at this point. Follow the obvious wide tarmac track ahead. The track leads you south, with Royal Common to your left.

The commons here are part of Longmoor Training Area, owned by Defence Estates. The training area is used for logistics and minor infantry manoeuvre exercises. Public access is permitted at all times but please be sure to follow the byelaws you read by the car park to ensure you stay safe.

Follow the long straight path through the trees. Just a few paces after passing under some power lines, you will see the first of the common’s ponds on your right, Royal Common Pond.

Royal Common Pond to Major Crossroads
Royal Common Pond to Major Crossroads

Start point: 51.1747 lat, -0.6835 long
End point: 51.1699 lat, -0.692 long

Stay with the tarmac track as it bears slightly right and then continues for another long straight section. At the end of the straight stretch, stay with the tarmac track as it bears left, leading you over a pretty shallow stream.

A short distance later the track bears right leading you gently uphill and under a smaller set of powerlines. You will reach a fork in the bridleway. Keep right, staying with the main surfaced track. Go straight ahead at the next small waymarker post (which marks a sandy bridleway crossing your path). 50 metres later, you will come to a major crossroads at the edge of an area of open heath. This marks the one mile point in your journey, so time to turn back and retrace your steps if you want to limit the walk to 2 miles.

Major Crossroads to Pipe Bridge
Major Crossroads to Pipe Bridge

Start point: 51.1699 lat, -0.692 long
End point: 51.1733 lat, -0.7075 long

To continue, turn right and follow the wide compacted stone and sand track leading you through the beautiful section of heathland, Ockley Common. The track leads you gently uphill to reach a fork. Take the left-hand branch (staying with the bridleway stone track).

Follow the main track as it enters and then winds through a section of pine woodland. Further along, the heathland area of Elstead Common opens up on your left. Elstead, Ockley and Royal Commons are part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The commons are covered with heather, bracken and woodlands of birch and Scots pine. There is a rich diversity of wildlife to be found including nightjar, Dartford warbler, woodlark, sand lizard, smooth snake, natterjack toad, roe and muntjac deer and many species of butterfly. Look out for green woodpeckers and hobbies in the skies above Elstead Common.

The track leads you under power lines and then over a concrete slab which spans a stream running through a pipe. You are now 1.75 miles into your journey and this marks the end of the surfaced tracks for this walk. If you are reliant on these (for pushchairs, mobility scooters etc) you will now need to turn round and retrace your steps back to the car park.

Pipe Bridge to The Moat
Pipe Bridge to The Moat

Start point: 51.1733 lat, -0.7075 long
End point: 51.1665 lat, -0.7144 long

To continue, cross the pipe bridge and keep ahead on the track. Immediately before you enter the section of pine woodland, turn left onto the narrow path (marked with a blue bridleway arrow). Follow this path ahead, winding through the edge of the trees and then continuing with the woodland on your right and the open common on your left.

Further along, a set of powerlines merge with your path as you continue along the woodland edge. Stay with the path (which can get muddy in part) beneath the powerlines all the way down until you reach a waymarker post marking a crossroads of bridleways. Here your route takes a short diversion to visit another beautiful pond.

Turn right, follow the wide dirt track ahead (with another car park visible across to your right) and it will lead you directly to the edge of the large pond, The Moat. There is a picnic bench here as well as several pontoons, should you wish to pause and enjoy the views. Moat Pond supports several rare spider, water beetle and dragonfly species.

The Moat to Thursley Boardwalks
The Moat to Thursley Boardwalks

Start point: 51.1665 lat, -0.7144 long
End point: 51.1684 lat, -0.7046 long

When you have finished at The Moat, return back along the path from which you came to reach the crossroads under the powerlines. Go straight ahead and follow this bridleway through the centre of the commons.

Further along the path leads you over a stream and opens up to become a wider sandy ride. A few metres later, you will see the start of a section of boardwalks on your right. Whilst our route does not include this section of Thursley Common, feel free to explore a section of the boardwalks should you wish. Just a short way along them you will find another pond, Pudmore Pond, which makes a good place to watch for wildlife. When you have finished, return to the main sandy ride to continue your journey.

Thursley Boardwalks to Stream Bridge
Thursley Boardwalks to Stream Bridge

Start point: 51.1684 lat, -0.7046 long
End point: 51.1718 lat, -0.6884 long

For the main route, ignore the boardwalks, simply keep ahead on the wide sandy ride. At the next crossroads of bridleways go straight on, entering a section of trees. (NOTE Spring 2016: There is currently a construction project underway to raise and improve the drainage of this section of path. As a result, the path may be very uneven and soft underfoot, but it should still be passable).

At the end of the sandy ride you will come to a T-junction with the stone bridleway that you used for the outward leg. Turn right along this. (From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the car park). Follow the stone track through the pine woodland and out into an area of open common. Go over the brow of the gentle rise and then gradually descend to reach a waymarker post with blue arrows, marking a crossroads of bridleways. Turn left here, staying with the main stone track. The track leads you through woodland to reach a bridge over a pretty stream.

Stream Bridge to End
Stream Bridge to End

Start point: 51.1718 lat, -0.6884 long
End point: 51.1813 lat, -0.683 long

Cross the bridge and stay with the main track. You will pass Royal Common Pond on your left. Bear left to continue on the tarmac track (passing under powerlines) and follow the track which leads you directly back to the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author exploresurrey and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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3 images to "Explore Surrey: Elstead Common"

5592_0Richard1456495937 Explore Surrey: Elstead Common Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Bobbie enjoyed a dip in The Moat.
5592_1Richard1456495937 Explore Surrey: Elstead Common Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The boardwalks that are worth a small detour. To my eye they look a little Jurassic Park...
5592_0dnh19541468749521 Explore Surrey: Elstead Common Image by: dnh1954
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970


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