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More about Marden Park

This mosaic of ancient broadleaf woodland, newer planting and rare chalk grassland sits high on the beautiful North Downs of East Surrey. Its stunning spring flowers, amazing variety of colourful butterflies in summer and rich autumn hues make the wood a wonderful place to visit throughout the year.

Marden Park sits high on the rolling chalk downs of East Surrey in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its ancient semi-natural broadleaf woodland is coupled with sections of newer planting and interspersed with clearings of rare chalk grassland, making it a diverse and fascinating natural habitat.

In spring, the oak, horse chestnut and the gnarled, twisted trunks of veteran beech trees are skirted by ferns, foxgloves, and a carpet of vivid bluebells. Stroll across the springy turf of the chalk grasslands in summer and your footsteps release the scent of wild marjoram. It’s also the time when the sunny clearings come alive with 25 species of colourful butterfly, and a variety of orchids, including the pinkish-purple spotted orchid, velvet-tipped bee orchid and the yellow-green spiky heads of the twayblade. Later in the year, the huge variety of tree species brings a stunning palette of autumn hues – the wood was named by The Guardian newspaper as one of the top ten places to see autumn colour.

There’s plenty of wildlife too. As you stroll through the woods, listen for the drumming of woodpeckers or the piping sound of the red kite as it soars above. And keep an eye out for elegant little roe deer hiding among the trees, or the rare Roman snail, with its 5cm shell.

Its stunning setting, beautiful woods, biodiverse grasslands and almost seven miles of paths to explore, make Marden Park a perfect day out.

Setting

Marden Park is located on the narrow plateau and dip slopes of the North Downs in East Surrey, close to the village of Woldingham. The 67.3-hectare (155-acre) site comprises Marden Park and Great Church Wood.

The wood falls within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as the Woldingham and Oxted Site of Special Scientific Interest. The area is of international importance because of its strips of old coppiced trees, wooded ravines, small carrs (waterlogged sections) and conifers, as well as yew and evergreen box woodland.

Grid reference: TQ369539, OS 1:50,000 Sheet No. 187

(Photo: WTML)

Access and walks

The site has an extensive network totalling almost seven miles (11km) of maintained footpaths. The wood’s two sections (east and west) are separated by Chaldon Farm but connected by common land and a permissive path. The North Downs Way and the six-mile (10 km) waymarked Woldingham Countryside Walk both run through the site.

Apart from the stone-surfaced bridleways, all paths are unsurfaced, and there are some steep slopes, especially on the minor paths. Five entrances have interpretation boards.

Access points
The main access point is via a wide gate from the car park off Gangers Hill (to the south of Woldingham). This leads in to the larger eastern part of the woods. There is a stone surfaced public bridleway running north, and another surfaced permissive bridleway to the left of this. Some short sections of path from the main car park may be suitable for scooter users, but are not suitable for wheelchair access.

Other access points to the eastern section
•  The north end of the public bridleway which leads from the school
•  The end of Church Road from St Agatha's Church (kissing gate)
•  Two wide horse gates off Gangers Hill (one of which links to a public footpath)
•  Pedestrian entrance at the north end, via a footpath (stile)
•  Pedestrian entrance off Gangers Hill, via a footpath.

Access points to the western section
•  A main entrance off Gangers Hill
•  A smaller entrance off Gangers Hill, which links to the North Downs Way
•  Another entrance on the north-west side of the wood, also linking to the North Downs Way.

There are no surfaced paths through the western section of the woods and access is by either kissing gate or through a narrow gap.

A group of enthusiastic volunteers undertake regular practical tasks throughout the year, including woodland thinning, coppicing of hazel, and clearing scrub.

Nearest amenities

Public conveniences
There are two public toilets within two miles of the woods: at the bus bay in Godstone Green and in the lay by at Godstone Hill, off the A22. Both toilets are open 24 hours and have disabled access, but no baby changing facilities.

Refreshments
Try Knights Garden Centre in Woldingham Road which serves breakfast, lunch and snacks (telephone 01883 652712). Alternatively there are also a number of eating places in nearby Warlingham. For more information, visit the TripAdvisor website.

Accommodation and tourist information
Croydon Tourist Information Centre: telephone 0208 253 1009
Nearest YHA: Kemsing, telephone 0870 770 5890
Full details at the Visit Surrey website.

Directions

By bus
The 540 bus service from Caterham to Woldingham station is operated by Buses 4U (01883 732791) and runs three times a day, Monday to Friday only.

By train
Woldingham railway station is about one mile (1.7km) from the site. Turn right out of the station and walk along Church Road to the Great Church part of the woods. There is a kissing gate entrance on the right side of the road. There is also a public footpath starting from a minor road that runs from the south-west of the station.

For up-to-date information on public transport, visit Traveline (0871 200 2233 – calls cost 12p per minute), or the Sussex County Council website.

By car
Marden Park Wood is close to the village of Woldingham in Surrey. The main access point is the car park off Gangers Hill, south of the village.

From the M25, exit at Junction 6, following the A22 southbound, then the A25 westbound. This will bring you to Flower Lane, which runs into Gangers Hill.

From Woldingham, take the Northdown Road, which runs south from Station Road (the road that runs through the village centre). Follow Northdown Road for 0.8 miles. At the end of the road, turn right onto Gangers Hill and drive for 0.6 miles. The main entrance is on the right-hand side.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.