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Exploring the estate at Polesden Lacey

Woodland bluebells in the spring
Woodland bluebells in the spring | © National Trust Images/Chris Davies

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.
A Chalkhill Blue male butterfly in July at Lighthouse Down, Kent
A Chalkhill Blue male butterfly | © National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

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.

Blue tit

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. You can download the walking routes here . For more 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 Saloon at Polesden Lacey, Surrey

Discover more at Polesden Lacey

Find out when Polesden Lacey is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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