Discover our special trees

Walking trail

Abinger Roughs is an area of magical woodland with a range of specimen trees to be enjoyed, as well as lovely views over the North Downs and the Tillingbourne Valley. Follow this post-marked trail to learn more about these magnificent trees.

Map

Map showing the route of the tree walk at Abinger Roughs

Start:

NT car park, White Downs Lane, Abinger Hammer, RH5 6QS

1

The trail follows the main path from the car park through Abinger Roughs to the viewpoint and then bends round to the left to head back to the natural play area and the car park. Leave the car park taking the path that is directly opposite the entrance and enter the woodland.

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view of cars parked at Abinger Roughs car park

2

Walk forwards through the trees and you will notice a path coming in from the right. Look around you at the magnificent beeches around you. Common beeches can grow up to 40 metres high. They are famous for producing beautiful autumn colours.

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Beech tree leaves are green in summer and brown in autumn. The trees produce seeds called beech mast.

3

Head further along the main path towards an opening and at the fork take the wide grassy path to the left, ignoring a small path to the right. Walk through the more open area along the main path. As you go slightly downhill, there are more trees growing closer to the path. On your left you will see a very large veteran beech tree with an information panel. This is called the 'witches' broom' tree

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The witches' broom tree is a special tree in Abinger Roughs

4

Leaving the veteran beech, come down to the path 10 metres, turn left and you will be standing amongst some oak trees. Oak trees support more life forms than any other native tree. They host hundreds of insect species - an important food source for many birds. In autumn mammals such as badgers and deer take advantage of the falling acorns.

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Oak is a classic tree of the English countryside

5

From the oaks carry on along the main path, crossing a farm track and then walking up a small slope. At the top you will see the large holly bushes. An evergreen tree that can live to 300 years, holly provides dense cover and good nesting sites for birds. Its deep, dry leaf litter can also be used for hibernation by hedgehogs and other small mammals.

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Holly is a associated with Christmas

6

From the holly trees continue along the main path. On your right you will see the signs to the Rhody Ramble. The rhododendrons here were part of the wild garden planted by Thomas Farrer of Abinger Hall in the 19th century. They have become very well established and we've cut paths through them to create room to play; a hide and seek paradise! Come in May to see the beautiful purple flowers.

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Way mark to Rhody Ramble

7

From the Rhody Ramble marker return to the main path and continue walking to the west. As you come to the edge of an open area look up to see the tall Scots Pine. This evergreen is one of just three conifers native to the UK. Mature trees grow to 35m and can live for up to 700 years.

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The tall and stately Scots pine reaches above the tree canopy

8

Walk straight ahead across the open glade and follow the main path into another area of woodland heading slightly uphill. You will come to cross roads of path with a fence on the right hand side and an open view up to the Downs. Pause a minute to drink in the view. Turn to the left and walk towards the large oaks. Look carefully to spot the rowan trees in between the oaks. Also known as mountain ash, rowan is a small tree found on mountains, heathland and in woodland edges, and is frequently planted in towns and gardens.

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Common rowan

9

Carry straight along the path bending left round the corner and heading slightly downhill you will come to an area of some massive veteran trees.

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Veteran trees are very old

10

As you stand by the veteran trees look up to the birch trees. Can you spot the large knobbly growth on the birch tree? A burr usually forms over a wound, which may have been caused by anything - fungi, bacteria, virus, insect activity, animal activity or weather. They don’t cause any harm to the tree. Whatever wound originally caused the burr is usually healed over during the period of irregular growth, protecting the tree from any further damage.

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Burrs grow on birch trees and are harmless

11

Walk forwards along the path and you will return to the open glade. Follow the path round to the right and on the right hand side of the path there are some young elm trees. English elm dominated the British countryside landscape, but has been ravaged by Dutch elm disease since the 1960s. As the tree gets older it becomes more susceptible to the disease. Now you can only find young trees or shrubby trees in hedgerows.

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English elm is a rare tree these days

12

Follow the path round the bend to the left, leaving the path and sign to the Snowdrop Walk to the right hand side. On your left you will some magnificent yew trees. Yew is an evergreen conifer that can reach 400 to 600 years of age. Some specimens live longer; ten yews in Britain are believed to predate the 10th century making them at least 1000 years old.

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Unusually for a conifer yew has berries not cones

13

From the yew tree, follow the path along an open glade with views to the south over the farmland of the Wootton estate. You will come to a fork in the path: take the right fork. Around here you will see some sweet chestnut trees. The sweet chestnut is thought to have been introduced to the British Isles by the Romans but today can be found throughout Britain in woods and copses, especially in parts of southern England.

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The bark of sweet chestnut twists around the trunk

14

From the sweet chestnut glade walk up the hill passing the well on your right. Continue to follow the path walking trough lighter woodland and grassland and some silver birch trees. This is a striking, medium-sized deciduous tree native throughout the UK and Europe.

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Silver birch is a pioneer tree

15

From the silver birch area follow the path and you will come out into the open area around the natural play area where there are a number of sycamore trees. Sycamore is a deciduous broadleaf tree native tree to central, eastern and southern Europe. It was probably introduced to the UK in the Middle Ages and is now a naturalised species.

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Sycamore is very common in woodland

16

From the natural play area, follow the path back to the car park. Well done you've completed the walk and hopefully you've learned more about some of our native trees. Keep an eye out for them on your next walk.

view of cars parked at Abinger Roughs car park

End:

NT car park, White Downs Lane, Abinger Hammer, RH5 6QS

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Discover our special trees

Terrain

Fairly flat terrain with well maintained, but naturally uneven paths which may become muddy in places after wet weather.

Discover our special trees

Contact us

Discover our special trees

How to get here

Address
NT car park, White Downs Lane, Abinger Hammer, RH5 6QS
By road

Head west from Dorking (A25) to Guildford. Just before Abinger Hammer, at The Crossways, head north up Whitedown Lane (opposite Rakes Lane) - the car park is on left.

Discover our special trees

Facilities and access

  • Picnic areas
  • Benches along the trail
  • No toilets