Polesden Lacey Butterfly Walk

Walking trail

The Polesden Lacey estate is home to a large variety of butterflies. Ranmore Common, which makes up the majority of the estate, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This designation protects the wide variety of rare woodland birds, bats and butterflies that can be found here. Click on the + symbol to see which butterflies you are likely to spot at each stage. Please note: The route passes through fields which now contain livestock and butterfly spotting is now limited. Please keep your dog under close control or on a lead.

Additional butterflies to spot along the trail

Please be aware: this walk involves crossing a working agricultural landscape where farm machinery and livestock may be present. Please keep your dog on a lead if livestock are in the field; but we recommend, if cattle approach you, to let your dog off the lead.  In addition to the butterflies mentioned below, along the route keep an eye out for the yellow brimstone (a fairly large, pale yellow butterfly with leaf-shaped wings), the ringlet (brown with small, yellowish-rimmed eyespots), the small white butterfly (brilliant white wings with small black tips and one or two wingspots), the large white (also white with black tips to the forewings extending down the edge of the wing) and the green veined white (white wings with prominent greenish veins on the hind wing).

The entrance to the house at Polesden Lacey


A map of the route for the Butterfly Walk at Polesden Lacey


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Start at the stone ornament in front of the Polesden Lacey house. Follow the drive approaching the house from the east for a few meters and then veer off to the right to follow the field edge – passing the open air theatre – until reaching the large stone column pergola at the end of Long Walk (250 metres).

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Painted lady butterfly


From the building, walk in a semi-circle to the right around the open area around the viewpoint. Then follow the driveway to the gate into Tanners Down on the right (174 metres).

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Brightly coloured peacock butterfly on grey bark.


From the gate walk diagonally left down a clear path, which goes downhill to a gate in the hedge where there is a tall stand of English elm. After a few metres pass through a gate on the left hand side and cross a lane, to the gate leading into Bagden Field (292 metres).

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Common blue butterfly in grass


From the gate, turn immediately left and through the gate leading into Bagden Down. Turn immediately right and follow a small path running along the bottom of the down. Past an oak tree there is a steep bank along the bottom of the down to the right. Approaching Bagden Farm – and some scrapes in the bank to the right – take the path which curves to the left and ascends to a gate leading out of the field (442 metres).

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Large skipper butterfly on a green background


Pass through the gate and turn left into the driveway leading up to the house, with Bagden Down to the left. The path curves to the right and enters beech woodlands. Section finishes at a point where, in sight of the Stone Bridge, a broad path diverges to the right (453 metres).

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Silver-washed fritillary butterfly


From the path junction, turn right. Just past a point where another path joins obliquely from the right, turn right on a small path which runs along the top rim edge of the old chalk pit. Look down into the chalk pit before turning left and returning to the main path. Turn right, ignoring the sign post pointing left and follow the path through to a woodland glade. Here take a small path on the left - just before a wooden sleeper; the path enters dense woodland (319 metres).

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 Marbled white butterfly on purple knapweed


From the point where the path enters woodland, follow the path through scrub to a T junction. Turn right and follow a broad path to a gate on Connicut Lane. Cross the lane and go through another gate on the other side and follow the path to a gate leading into Nursery Field (197 metres).

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 A female Holly Blue


From the gate, turn right and follow a path around the edge of Nursery Field, turning left at the top and following the path along to a gate leading out of the field (305 metres).

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 Small heath butterfly


From the gate follow the path through woodland for a few metres before going through a gate into Golf Course Field. Follow the path up the right hand edge of the field – past a leaning Wych Elm tree – and at the end of wood continue for a few metres to reach a crossing path. Here turn left and follow this path to the end of the field and a gate. The trail ends at Polesden Lacey's drive with an iron gate on the left hand side.

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The meadow brown butterfly


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Polesden Lacey Butterfly Walk

Contact us

Polesden Lacey Butterfly Walk

How to get here

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By road

From Junction 9 of the M25: follow the A243 (signed A24 Epsom, Dorking and Leatherhead), before picking up the A24 and then the A246 (following the brown signs, but taking care not to take a hard right onto the B2033 Reigate Road). Don't miss the brown sign as you enter Great Bookham, indicating the left turn up to Polesden.

From Guildford: Follow the A246, past East Clandon and East Horsley. Don't miss the brown sign as you enter Great Bookham, indicating the right turn up to Polesden.

Parking: 200 yards from entrance. National Trust members park for free. Car parking charges are £2 for up to 2 hours, £5 for a full day.

SatNav: Please use the postcode KT23 4PZ when travelling to Polesden Lacey instead of our address postcode, which has been known to confuse and mislead satnavs.

Polesden Lacey Butterfly Walk

Facilities and access

  • The gardens, wider estate and toilets at Polesden Lacey remain open for local visitors to access fresh air and open space for exercise, in line with government guidance. Thank you for helping us remain open safely by following Government guidance and stay
  • We have some one-way routes in place to help with social distancing.
  • Please book your ticket in advance.
  • Main car park 200 yards from visitor reception.
  • Main toilets are located opposite the coffee shop, before visitor reception, and have accessible toilets and baby change facilities.
  • Dogs on leads are welcome in some parts of the the pleasure grounds.
  • Dogs under close control are also welcome on the wider estate and farmland (please be aware of cattle and sheep grazing).
  • Assistance dogs only in the mansion, cafe and shop (when open) and formal gardens.
  • In line with government guidance, you're required to wear a face covering in most enclosed spaces, unless exempt. Please bring one with you.
  • Cycle racks are available outside our coffee shop. We ask you not to cycle or use your own mobility scooters in the gardens.