Whitmoor & Rickford Commons
Know before you go
Parking informationCar parks on Saltbox Road
Public access managed by Surrey County Council, conservation managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust
Brittons Pond is wheelchair accessible in dry conditions
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMay to September
About the reserve
You don’t have to range far from Guildford to discover fine examples of one of Surrey’s most precious habitats. Whitmoor and Rickford Commons combine iconic heathland with patches of pine, birch, oak, holly and hazel woodland. Around the wetter areas there is a mix of heath and willow with an area of alder carr.
The ponds were originally dug to let grazing stock drink. Now they are wildlife havens. 19 species of dragonfly, including the emperor dragonfly, have been recorded in or around the largest pond.
Whitmoor is well worth a visit at any time of year. In spring, you will see bright yellow celandines along the banks of the stream. Willow and hazel catkins appear before the trees get their leaves. The pale yellow brimstone is usually the first butterfly of the year.
By summer, the heathland flowers are at their best. Look out for the three types of heather – ling, bell and cross-leaved, as well as the carnivorous sundew. In the evening you may see bats and, if you’re lucky, hear Dartford warblers and the churring call of the nightjar.
In autumn, hazelnuts and acorns ripen, providing a feast for wood mice and other animals. Look for flocks of siskins, redpolls and goldfinches on the seed-heads of thistles. And when winter comes, the bare trees make it easier to spot woodpeckers, robins, wrens and other woodland birds. You might even see roe deer.
Saltbox Road car park and Britten's Pond car park off Salt Box Road