Visiting nature reserves during the pandemic

Jon Hawkins

Visiting nature reserves with the change in government Covid-19 guidelines

Following updated government guidelines on May 13th 2020, all previously closed Surrey County Council countryside car parks are now open.

You may be considering a visit to our nature reserves or the Surrey County Council sites where we manage the agricultural and conservation interest. These areas are wonderful places to explore and discover our wonderful countryside and wildlife, as well as giving us that much needed respite and space after lockdown.  But we must not forget that these places are homes for some of our most important species.

When visiting a reserve, please bear in mind that these are sensitive sites and birds are nesting (some do nest on the ground).  Please remember to behave responsibly, keep to the paths, keep dogs on a lead and clear up after them. Please also take all litter home.

To help prevent overcrowding please try to stay local where possible and walk or cycle to the sites if you can. Staying local will stop sites being overwhelmed with visitors – minimising disruption for local communities and helping people to observe social distancing and remain 2 metres apart.

We want you to enjoy your visit and your interactions with the wildlife, but please act responsibly, stay safe and give nature the respect that it deserves.

Covid-19 FAQ


Risk of wildfire

With a very dry spring and summer, many of the sites we care for are at a heightened risk of wildfire. Please take extra care when visiting a reserve, especially heathland sites.

Please do not light any fires or barbecues, dispose of cigarettes safely and take all litter home. If you discover a wildfire, please dial 999 and ask for the fire service.

Wildfire FAQ


Be tick aware

Most active from May to October, ticks are usually found in long grass, rough vegetation and woodland. They feed on the blood of animals including pets and people and are more active in warm weather.

Some ticks carry a bacterial infection called lyme disease, which can cause serious health problems in people.

Tick & lyme disease FAQ


Surrey County Council sites

Parking charges no longer apply at the Surrey County Council reserve car parks which previously had a charging scheme in place.

For any queries regarding reopening of SCC countryside car parks or issues including access to public footpaths, car parks, bins, litter, dog fouling, fly tipping and unauthorised access on SCC owned reserves, please contact the SCC Contact Centre direct on 03456 009 009 or email:

Further information about the countryside car parks owned or managed by Surrey County Council.


Further guidance & advice

Reporting & preventing wildfires
Information for dog walkers
Walking near livestock
Wildlife and the law
Fungi & foraging


Please note

The information on this page is subject to change based on current government advice.