These walks were compiled by Waverley Borough Council and are intended to help you enjoy Frensham Common and encourage greater understanding of the area.
There are four routes, including a short (450 metres) ‘Easier Access’ loop suitable for wheelchair users. Each walk is shown on the map and on the information boards and waymarked by coloured discs positioned around the Common. All the walks start at the Information Room at the Great Pond.
We hope you enjoy the Common
Easier Access Loop (450 metres)
Marked in Black on the Map
This short route offers a glimpse of the varied landscape and wildlife of Frensham Common.
Points Of Interest
From the Information Room, with its views of the Great Pond, head towards the fenced areas, which are set aside to encourage heather growth. From here the route passes through a small oak wood, which provides a home for birds such as tits and woodpeckers. The path returns to the Information Room across the boardwalk through the heather. This small area of heath supports a variety of heathland plants and reptiles, such as the Common Lizard.
The Heathland Explorer (25 mins)
Marked in Purple on the Map
This walk provides an introduction to the heath and its wildlife and offers fine views.
Points of Interest
The fenced areas near the building are intended to encourage heather growth. Beyond these areas is the old car park which was closed in 1990. It has since been colonised by a variety of heathland plants and animals. On the heathland you may see birds such as the Dartford Warbler and Stonechat, or catch a glimpse of a Common Lizard in the heather. In the past the common was grazed by livestock and the heather was cut for thatching and broom making, while the yellow flowering gorse provided winter fodder for animals and fuel for local people. The Common is now managed for wildlife. The heather is mown and bare sand exposed too benefit rare insects such as the Tiger Beetle and the Silver Studded Blue Butterfly, and scrub is cleared to maintain the open heathland. Returning to the Pond, you will pass a small oak woodland. This supports a different wildlife community, including the Wood Mouse and Purple Hairstreak butterfly.
The Great Pond Circular (45 mins)
Marked in Green on the Map
This walk offers an opportunity to enjoy the pond and a small part of the heathland. Part of the route is along the road, please take care.
Points of Interest
As you leave the car Park you climb Warren Hill. The bracken here is a ‘weed’ and is cut every year to prevent it taking over the heath. On the pond you may see birds ranging from the common Mallards and Coots to the rare visitors such as the Bittern and Goosander. Following the road towards Frensham Ponds Hotel, you will pass the pond outfall which was the site of a mill in the reign of Edward VI. There is also a Victorian sheep wash, which was used to clean sheep before being shorn. As you walk along Pond Lane you will cross the stream that feeds the pond, bringing water down from Grayshott and Hindhead. The south east corner of the pond is a sanctuary area, providing a quiet, undisturbed refuge for wildlife. The reed beds around the pond support more than forty pairs of Reed Warblers each summer. Walking back towards the Information Room you will cross the old car park which was closed in 1990. The nearby beaches have been created by erosion over the years and are a major attraction for many people.
The Two Ponds Way (2.5 hours)
Marked in Orange on the Map
This is the longest of the walks going through several different habitats, and providing attractive views. Please look out for horses on the bridleways. The bridleways are marked by blue posts.
Points of Interest
When the Great Pond was managed as a fish farm it was drained every five years so that the fish could be collected and sold, but it was most recently drained during the second world war to prevent enemy aircraft using the pond as a landmark. As you walk towards the road, you will cross an area of short grass which was once a car park. Cross the road and in front of you is King’s Ridge, so named because Edward VII once reviewed troops from here. The humps on the ridge are Bronze Age burial mounds. Going down the far side, look out for Green Woodpeckers feeding on ants, or Dartford Warblers and Stonechats perched on the gorse. At the foot of the hill, you will pass around Vampire Flats, named after a vampire aircraft which crashed here on 21st December, 1948. Cross the causeway through the carr (a kind of wet woodland dominated by Alder trees) which provides food and shelter for winter visitors such as Redpoll and Siskins. The walk now takes you past the Little Pond, part of which is a sanctuary for the waterbirds and other wildlife found here. The Scots Pine woods around the pond have been used in several film and TV productions as a substitute for Scotland. On the Common you will notice areas of birch and pine scrub. In order to maintain the heathland landscape, this scrub is kept under control and is regularly cleared. This is vital to protect the rare heathland wildlife. Just after crossing the road you will see an area of bare sand this is an important habitat for rare insects and reptiles. As you return towards the Information Room you pass several mown strips in the heather. These provide a home for scarce species such as the Silver -studded Blue butterfly.
The trail is in the form of two loops. The first loop provides a short ride of roughly 1.5km while both loops together add up to approximately 5.5km of easy to moderately difficult cycling. Be warned however, there is one short section where you would be advised to get off and push.
The trail starts from the small car park off Priory Lane.
It travels west along the northern edge of the Common, on relatively firm level ground.
After roughly 300 metres the trail turns left beginning to slowly climb up onto Kings Ridge, giving views across the Common towards the Great Pond.
Shortly after, the trail levels out, the loop turns left and back down towards the car park. The long rout continues along the ridge which is level and fairly firm, past the burial mounds, before entering a wooded area. At the end of the ridge, the route goes down a fairly steep hill, with some loose stones before turning sharp left.
Carry straight on where the main track turns sharp right. Stay on this firm path until it rejoins the bridleway.
Turn left where the bridleway meets the road. At the end of the road, turn right and stay on the firm, level path past the southern shore of the Little Pond. Cross the sandy track and climb up the steep slope to the top of the ridge. You would be advised to get off and push this bit!
At the top, turn around and enjoy the view over the Little Pond. Turn right along the ridge, using the same track as on the outward let, before bearing right, down the track towards the car park.
Websites to look at