Exploring the estate at Polesden Lacey
Take some time to enjoy the ancient woodland at Polesden Lacey. From grazed fields and beautiful viewpoints to rare birds and butterflies, there's so much to explore.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The estate lies within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), an area that spans the width of Surrey itself.
Every time you visit Polesden Lacey, whether you’re a National Trust member or not, your visit helps look after the estate. Your money funds conservation work across the estate ensuring the land and the species that live here will flourish for everyone, for ever, so please visit as often as you like.
Nature and wildlife at Polesden Lacey
- Woodland rides
- A woodland ride is a track or a long narrow glade that allows more light to reach the woodland floor, allowing low-lying plants and shrubs to grow. Meanwhile, the edges provide excellent habitats for many different species from hazel dormice to white admiral butterflies.
- Endangered bats
- There are 17 species of bat in the UK, all of which are endangered. Twelve of these species have been seen foraging over the Polesden Lacey estate, which is an excellent indicator of the biodiversity of the land.
- Foreign guests
- The Polesden estate offers habitats for 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 non-native species include parakeets from the Himalayas and muntjac deer from China.
- Beautiful birds
- Ranmore Common was awarded SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) classification due to the variety of rare birds claiming the woodland as their habitat. Birds you may spot include the song thrush, bullfinch and possibly the elusive hawfinch. There’s also one of the strongest populations in the UK of the rarer marsh tit. You may also spot a red kite, sparrowhawk or even a buzzard nesting in an area of woodland cleared by the ranger team.
- Wild orchids
- While out walking, look out for one of the 10 species of wild orchid that grow in the woodland, including the exceptionally rare bird’s nest orchid.
Other wildlife at Polesden Lacey
If you find a good spot and wait quietly with your binoculars, any number of creatures might come visiting. Here are some to keep an eye out for.
These small but feisty birds are one of our year-round residents here at Polesden Lacey. Look for them hanging upside down from the treetops, hunting for spiders.
Voted the UK’s favourite bird, robins are hard to miss with their distinctive red chest. You can hear them singing all year round.
Great spotted woodpecker
This striking woodpecker can mostly be seen clinging to tree trunks and branches. Males have a red patch on the back of their heads.
You can't beat the sight of a colourful butterfly flitting from one flower to the next. Watch out for the chalkhill blue butterfly, which we're hoping to attract at Polesden Lacey as a result of our chalk grassland project.
If you hear a cuckoo while out on a walk, please tell one of our rangers. Cuckoos are in serious decline so it’s great to know if they’re around.
Walking at Polesden Lacey
There are four waymarked routes around the estate, each differing in length and difficulty, but all with stunning views of the Surrey Hills. For detailed information about the routes, pick up a walks leaflet in visitor reception or check out the map in the car park.
Activities for families
Do you know about the '50 things to do before you're 11¾' you can do at National Trust places ? Get to know a tree, have fun with sticks, build a den or go welly wandering – there’s something for every young explorer at Polesden Lacey.
The garden at Polesden Lacey has something to offer in every season. From exceptional views and peace and quiet to stunning colours and scents, there is always something to enjoy.
Polesden Lacey is a three pawprint rated place. Dogs are welcome in large parts of the garden and wider 1,600-acre estate at Polesden Lacey. Pick up a dog walkers’ leaflet when you arrive or download the guide before you visit.
Whether you want to grab a picnic, eat a hot meal or snack, or browse unique gifts and local products, we've got plenty to tempt you at Polesden Lacey.
Plan a visit to one of the special countryside places in our care and discover the benefits of being in the great outdoors. Pack your walking boots and get ready to explore woodlands, valleys and rivers.
Explore the wide array of countryside settings around Surrey, from tranquil waterways to landscaped parkland, and plenty of hills to climb.