Discover wild escapes in Surrey this Christmas

© Mark Horton

Explore a new nature reserve for the first time this Christmas.

With more than 80 Surrey Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves, there are so many natural landscapes in Surrey just waiting to be discovered, from wetland walks and hill top views to wintery woodlands and vast, wild heathlands.

So switch off and have fun with your merry throng of family and friends this holiday. Plan a wild escape to Chinthurst Hill near Shalford, Crooksbury Hill near Farnham or Ockham and Wisley Common to name just a few reserves to experience the relaxing and restorative effects of being in the great outdoors whatever the weather.

Grab your wellies and take a warming winter walk up the wooded slopes of Chinthurst Hill for lovely views of Guildford from the summit, where you’ll also find an impressive stone folly built in the 30’s by Lord Inchcape. Look out for birds of prey including buzzards and sparrowhawks hunting for prey in the fields below.

More about Chinthurst Hill

If a relaxing stroll is more your thing, pick up your binoculars and head for Newdigate Brickworks near Dorking. This former claypit attracts a good range of wetland birds during the winter months and if you’re quiet, you may be lucky enough to spot the bright flash of a kingfisher or a snipe lurking in the waterside vegetation.

More about Newdigate Brickworks

On a cold day, head for heaths such as Ockham and Wisley Common. The landscape of frosty heather and scattered pine has a desolate beauty and a feeling of true wilderness. Look out for the beady red eye of the small but striking Dartford warbler perched on top of gorse, which may be in fiery yellow bloom. 

More about Ockham & Wisley

Crooksbury Hill near Farnham is a woodland reserve with stunning views across Surrey and Hampshire. Soldier’s Ring, on the northern side, is a scheduled ancient monument. The hill fort is thought to date to the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age. Worth the hike to the summit, steep steps lead straight to the top or a more gentle path follows the side of the hill. A mixture of woodland, open glades and heathland.

More about Crooksbury Hill

Half Price membership

Surrey Wildlife Trust is offering half price membership in our January sale from the 26th December, with a FREE calendar whilst stocks last.

More about membership