Walking

Walking trail

Deep in the purple empire butterfly walk

Walking trail

Enter one of the best woods in England for the rare and elusive purple emperor.

Spot a variety of butterflies and many birds in the woodland

Each afternoon the males gather at two special clumps of trees and put on amazing territorial displays. You’ll also enjoy plenty of other butterflies and many birds.

Purple emperor butterfly

Map

Map route for deep in the purple empire butterfly walk

Start:

Near Bookham station, grid ref: TQ130565

1

Leave Tunnel car park and head north-west. Search for purple emperors sipping moisture along the paths on the lower slopes of the common, especially between 10am and 11.30am. You can also see them later on by the 'master trees'.

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2

Follow the main path (Common Road) towards and past the houses. All the open, sunny rides in this part of the commons may reveal male purple emperors (rotting fruit and even dog poo are popular places for them). Look out for the closed wings of the male that resemble a sharks fin.

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3

Turn right onto Hollows Path that leads past the lakes. They're worth exploring and tend to be good for white admiral, silver-washed fritillary and dragonflies.

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4

Turn left before the wood edge and go up Broadway. This leads to the Mark Oak 'master tree' on the left, just before the ride junction at the top. Purple emperors fly around the tall turkey oaks here but can be difficult to spot. Patience is needed.

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5

Turn left and westwards to follow High Point Path. There's lots of other wildlife to look out for too. Fantastic birdlife with woodpeckers, hawfinches and nightingales. Southern marsh orchids in scrubby areas and great-crested newts around the ponds.

6

Spend some time at the Hill Farm territory and at the second 'master tree' (a hornbeam) located on the north side of the path on the summit, just south of the farm.

7

Continue to the houses at the Isle of Wight enclosure and retrace your path to the car park and station.

End:

Near Bookham station, grid ref: TQ130565

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Deep in the purple empire butterfly walk

Terrain

Moderate slopes and the rides can be very muddy in wet weather.

Dogs welcome on paths and in woods.

Deep in the purple empire butterfly walk

Contact us

Deep in the purple empire butterfly walk

How to get here

Address
Bookham, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT23
By train

Bookham (regular service).

By road

Exit M25 at junction 9, then A243, A24 and A246. After 2 miles (3.2km), turn right onto High Street then left onto Church Road. Various car parks, including near Bookham Station.

By bus

622 from Epsom; 479 from Epsom, Guildford and Leatherhead to Bookham train station.

By bicycle

Surrey National Cycle Network Route 3.

Deep in the purple empire butterfly walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome; please keep them on leads when livestock are grazing