Travel ideas for the family.
Whitmoor Common is looked after by Surrey Wildlife Trust. It’s just north of Guildford. We’ve been enjoying searching out new places to explore as part of the 30 Days Wild Challenge so thought this would be a great place to come for a walk and to see what we could find.
Whitmoor Common is a really diverse area, with heathland, pine, oak, holly and hazel woodland. Further in there’s a wetter, boggy area (which reminded me of that bog in The Labyrinth) and a waterlogged channels and ponds.
There are two car parks and I think a mobile cafe comes sometimes. It’s free to use now but parking charges are to be introduced very soon in 2019. There are two self guided trails, one hour and two hours, or a number of criss-crossed trails, bridlepaths and footpaths to take. We did a bit of meandering really, with the help of google maps to navigate which way we were facing. I probably would have gotten a little lost without it, but if you stick to the trail markers you’d be fine.
The path, particularly around the heathland, is fine for buggies, though better suited to trail type or lighter ones. As you head inland into the bogs, there’s a narrow walkway, which my buggy could manage as I’ve only got a foldaway MacLaren now but would be too narrow for anything larger.
We started off in the heathland, looking around for beetles, bugs and butterflies. We found quite a few centipedes (I think), some very pretty clover and gorse, now in bloom. When we visited Headley Heath two weeks ago it wasn’t in flower. We also found a very large mushroom. I’m no expert and even after searching online at home I have no idea if it is poisonous or not (even though F and I have been wild food foraging).
I wanted to find one of the ponds as Whitmoor Common is a very good place to spot dragonflies. 19 species have been seen here including the emperor dragonfly. We bumbled around a bit and ended up at the train crossing, which B loved. We even got a beep and a wave from one of the trains.
Finding our way again we headed into the swampy area and to the largest pond where we sat for a while contemplating life and all that. No dragonflies unfortunately, but we did see many dogs and their friendly owners!
We also heard lots of birds. There are many nightjars here and also Dartford warblers. Using my birdspotting app I think we heard some good old blackbirds! One day I will go with a guide for sure so I can improve my birdsong listening skills.
We then began heading back towards the car park, through many muddy puddles and boggy bits, back out onto the heath. B was very pleased he had his wellies on so he could do a spot of puddle splashing.
We spent a good 2.5 hours at Whitmoor Common. Exploring new places with my children is definitely my favourite thing to do., especially when you find gems like this. I do have to bribe B a little with a promise of cafe or playground visit, but he honestly has a great time when we get to wilder places. He loves looking for minibeasts and wandering about, splashing in boggy mud and waving at other walkers. And I think now we are beginning to know a little more of what to look out for or of fun activities we could do out in nature it’s even more enjoyable.