Five facts about our woodlands and wildlife at Polesden Lacey

A spiny puffball on the woodland floor.

The house at Polesden Lacey sits at the heart of a 1400 acre estate, land that is part of the Surrey Hills and which has been classified an area of outstanding natural beauty. Ranmore Common, which accounts for a large proportion of the estate, has also been awarded the SSSI status making it a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the variety of rare species that inhabit the woodland.

Thanks to every visitor

Every time you visit Polesden Lacey, whether you’re a National Trust member or not, your visit brings money to the estate. We use this money to fund conservation work all across the estate to ensure that this precious land and the species that live here will flourish forever, for everyone, so please visit as often as you like.

Five facts about our natural conservation

Woodland ‘rides’

A woodland ride is a track or a long narrow glade that allows more light to reach the woodland floor. The light allows low-lying plants and shrubs to grow, while the ride edges provide excellent habitat for a many different species from Hazel dormice to White Admiral butterflies.

Polesden’s ranger team clears approximately 35,000 square meters of woodland ride each year. This task is a top priority for the ranger team and it occupies about 75% of their time between September and February.

Endangered bats

There are 17 species of bat in the UK, all of which are endangered. Exactly 12 of these species have been seen foraging over the Polesden Lacey estate. This indicates that the countryside is in good condition as the bats look for insects that are happy to inhabit the land.

Foreign guests

The Polesden estate offers habitat to a number of foreign wildlife species, such as the Roman Snail, an exceptionally large snail from Europe that’s protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.


Other foreign species include parakeets from the Himalayas and muntjak deer from China.

Beautiful birds

Ranmore Common was awarded the SSSI classification due to the variety of rare birds that have claimed this woodland as their habitat.

Birds you may spot on Ranmore Common include song thrush, bullfinch and possibly even the elusive hawfinch. You may also spot the rarer marsh tit. We have one of the strongest populations in the UK due to the large area of their broadleaved woodland habitat.


You may also spot a red kite, sparrowhawk or even a buzzard, which are nesting in an area of woodland cleared by the ranger team.

Wild orchids

While out walking, you may also spot one of the 10 species of wild orchid that grow in the woodland, including the exceptionally rare Bird’s nest orchid.