The Hurtwood

A large part of the countryside that surrounds us in this part of Surrey is The Hurtwood. The Hurtwood is the largest area of commonland in Surrey. In this beautiful wilderness you can find Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill, two magnificent greensand peaks, which with the Winterfold ridge, offer stunning views over the Weald to the South Downs. There are miles of pine woods, heather heaths, ponds and glades which are home to an abundance of wildlife.

The Hurtwood lies within two of the ancient manors that make up the Shere Manor Estate – the Manor of Gomshall Towerhill and part the Manor of ‘Shire cum Vacherie et Cranley’, which was given to Sir Reginald Bray by Henry VII over 500 years ago and has remained in the ownership of the Bray family to this day.

More than 90 years ago, Reggie Bray, Lord of the Manor of Shere, granted the public a ‘right to roam’ with ‘open access for air and exercise’ on the Hurtwood – one of the first estates in England to do so. Open access is available to bird watchers, dog walkers, horse riders, mountain bikers and anyone who enjoys fresh air.

Although the Hurtwood is owned by a few private landowners, the care of the Hurtwood’s 60 miles of trails and the 14 car parks and general safety of the public is the responsibility of the Friends of the Hurtwood, a small charity with the aim of maintaining the natural beauty and improving public access so that everyone can enjoy this much loved landscape.

The Friends do this with limited resources, through annual subscriptions from members and much needed donations from individuals and organisations and through small grants from the landowners and local authorities.

If you would like information on how to find The Hurtwood or if you regularly use the it and might like to become a ‘friend’ then please visit Friends of The Hurtwood [click here].

Pictures by Hurtwood Ranger – Mark Beaumont

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