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Two silhouetted people in the distance walking on a wide path in the woods in the autumn, with orange and red leaves on some of the trees.
Abinger Roughs nature walk, Surrey | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Abinger Roughs nature walk

Abinger Roughs has a long history – from the Stone Age to Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist, who walked on the Roughs in the 1870s. Follow in Darwin's footsteps and discover more about the history and wildlife here.

Total steps: 7

Total steps: 7

Start point

Abinger Roughs car park. Grid reference: TQ110480.

Step 1

Start the walk by heading out of the car park, through the gap in the fence opposite the notice board. Look out for the green nature trail marker post.

Step 2

Walk past the natural play area and then follow the path as it bends round to the right and begins to descend. The Scots pine here is a native British tree which loves the sandy soil.

Step 3

Continue to walk down the slope and down to a small copse at a low point reached over a trackway. There is an old well here that was dug to provide water for cattle and horses. We have now fenced it off to prevent accidents. Look around here to spot an unusual grafting of an American ash tree onto an English ash. Follow the left-hand path up the hill and then round to the left. You'll go through some holly and then come out into an open glade.

A woodland copse at Abinger Roughs
Listen out for birdsong as you pause among the trees | © National Trust

Step 4

This open glade is a lovely spot for a picnic or a game of frisbee or football. The grassland here supports lots of insects and butterflies. When you're ready to continue, walk to the edge of the glade and a junction of paths. Take the second fork to the left along a glorious undulating path.

A grassy clearing surrounded by trees
You can stop for a picnic on this grassy clearing | © National Trust

Step 5

This is one of the most wooded areas of the Roughs. Some of the oaks are over 300 years old. Ancient trees are particularly important for conservation. The hollow trunks create niche habitats, rich in decaying wood, loose bark and perfect for insects, lichen and fungi. Bats, owls and woodpeckers nest in the holes. Take a moment here to enjoy the views.

Step 6

Follow the waymarkers down the slope and back into the woodland. You'll soon come to a large area of rhododendrons. Charles Darwin often used to walk around the Roughs when he was staying with his friend Thomas Farrer at Abinger Hall.

Step 7

Continue along the path, keeping an eye out on your left for the twisted roots and branches of old beech trees. They were planted as hedging to protect against livestock. As you walk out of the woodland you will see the Wilberforce memorial and also an old barn on your left hand side. This is Leasers Barn, which was used as a lambing shed for many years. From here, walk up the hill to return to the car park.

A narrow, tall stone monument set against a woodland backdrop with a path running beside it to the right.
The Samuel Wilberforce memorial | © National Trust

End point

Abinger Roughs car park. Grid reference: TQ110480.

Trail map

Abinger Roughs nature walk map
Abinger Roughs nature walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

NT Car park on White Downs Lane, Abinger Hammer, Surrey, RH5 6QS (nearest postcode)

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