The National Trust Great Bookham Common
The present day Bookham Common is made up of three ancient commons: Great Bookham, Little Bookham and Banks Common. All are part of the Saxon settlement of Bocham - 'the village by the beeches'.
The commons consist of grassland - wet, low-lying meadows, woodland, scrub and 12 ponds. The ponds are home to all three British species of newt, including the rare Great-Crested Newt. The five largest ponds are man-made, formed for fish-production in the 17th-century.
Great Bookham Common was bought by local residents in 1923 to save the oak woodlands, that were threatened by extensive speculative building. It was were then given to the National Trust. Little Bookham Common was given to the Trust in 1924 by Mr H Willock-Pollen, then Banks Common in 1925 by Mr R Calburn. Further areas have been added through local appeal funds and bequests from individuals.
The site comprises mainly woodland with areas of grassland, wetland meadows and scrubland, all of which sit on London clay. In fact, the Oak trees dominate most of the site, with woodland taking up approximately two thirds of the 1.5 sq.km area.
The Natural History Society has been surveying Bookham for over 50 years, and with good reason - it's home to hundreds of different species of wildlife, with everything from birds to butterflies. That's exactly why Bookham Commons, spanning 450 acres of ancient oak woodland, wet meadows and ponds, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), because of its important role in the conservation of plants, breeding birds and invertebrates.
Visitors can navigate an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways to make their way around the site.
It is easy to walk to Bookhan Common from the Horsleys :
From East Horsley via Ridings Wood; left on bridleway 131 (Old London Lane), then bear right behind Heath View to Effingham Common, cross the Effingham Common Road to Banks Lane by Effingham Junction Station.
From West Horsley via The Forest: (entered from the Drift), turn right at Forest Road, cross rail bridge and turn sharp left down Forest Lane, follow lane to edge of Effingham Common and turn left along common edge and then as above using Banks Lane.