Dunsfold Common

Dunsfold Common

Dunsfold Common  is a linear mosaic of grass, scrub, pond and woodland habitats typical of much common land found in Surrey.

The grassland is bordered in many places by tracks, roads and houses and is highly fragmented with patches varying in size from a few square metres to several hectares.

The Common is exceptional in enclosing eight ponds, some of which were probably dug for livestock or as brickpits.

The Common is used for a variety of formal and informal recreational activities including walking, dogwalking and horseriding, and as a focal point for village life.

It is heavily used for access to the many houses surrounding it, to the post office and the Sun Inn public house.

A number of areas are tended by residents as gardens: activities include regular mowing and the introduction of garden species. Some home owners deposit garden waste on the Common.

Past Management

The Common was originally owned by the Manor of Wintershall, with commoners’ rights for grazing exercised by local residents. The common’s pollarded trees were used as a source of firewood and for building materials. The woodlands adjacent to the common were managed by coppicing to provide fuel for the many furnaces around the village area, which produced cannons and guns.

Commoners’ rights have not been exercised since 1956 and the common has developed a ‘village green’ atmosphere. Further areas of woodland have developed due to the cessation of grazing, evident by the relatively even age and structure of the trees.

In the more recent past, management has been carried out by Waverley Countryside staff and by Dunsfold Parish Council which has a management agreement from the Borough Council. Some woodland understorey thinning has occurred.

The grassland was managed for hay-cutting from 1956 until 1992; cut and left from 1993-2000, then haycut from 2001 to the present day.
The cutting regime varies between areas: the cricket pitch and the area in front of The Sun are cut most frequently while other areas such as that by Wrotham Hill have much longer swards.
Some areas of grass are grazed occasionally by ponies belonging to travellers.

Similarly some of the ponds are managed more intensively than others and as a result each pond has its own character.
The ponds which are closer to the village centre have less marginal vegetation than those further away.

Extensive roadside tree planting has been undertaken, for example the line of horse chestnut at the south end of Dunsfold Common road.

The Friends of Dunsfold Common, established in 1958, contribute towards grasscutting costs and organise occasional fund-raising events.

Management Policy

Dunsfold Parish Council holds an agreement to manage the common in conjunction with Waverley Borough Council’s Countryside Section for the benefit of people and wildlife. Dunsfold’s Village Design Statement (2001) recommends retaining a rural feeling of open space amongst the common, by controlling tree planting on open areas. It also recommends planting indigenous species only and avoiding inappropriate urbanisation of the area around and including Dunsfold Common.

Designations: Registered Common Land,

The Common supports a good diversity of habitats including woodland, grassland, scrub and ponds.
The interlinked habitat mosaic is of high local wildlife value for which the Common was designated a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) by Surrey County Council in 1998.
The whole common falls within the soon to be extended boundary of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Common is also designated as an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV). Part lies within a Rural Settlement Boundary, part within a Conservation Area, and the whole site is designated as “Countryside beyond the green belt”.

A Tree Preservation Order applies to the oak south of the Winn Hall.


The drainage system of this area is complex. The streams arising to the west of Dunsfold flow eastwards then southwards to flow eventually into the River Arun.
These streams are joined by two smaller streams flowing from the north, one emerging in the region of Hookhouse Hanger, and the other near Pratts Corner. The latter continues southwards and is interrupted by a dam to create School Pond. It then joins another small stream flowing from High Loxley and continues south-eastwards past Pound Farm.

Geology and Soils

The underlying geology is Wealden clay. The superficial drift material is River Gravels of the Bramley Wey 1st and 2nd terraces, typically subangular chert and cherty sandstone.
To the north of the common a thin strip of sandstone lies in an eastwest direction.
To the east of the common there is an outcrop of Paludina limestone.
The neutral soils are composed of Typical Argillic Gleys and PeloStagnogleys in the south, and Typical Stagnogleys in the northeast. Stagnogleys are prone to seasonal water logging and partially account for the high number of ponds on the common.


Access to the common is open.
There are 4 public bridleways and 5 public footpaths crossing the common,.
Access to residences across common land is arranged through the purchase of easements by residents or through licences organised by Waverley Borough Council (WBC).
Full details of owned and leased sections of the Common are kept by the Property Department at WBC.