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Size:

259.69 ha (641.69 acres)

Grid reference:

TQ209567

Map reference:

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OS Landranger NULL

The largest of our four First World War Centenary Woods, Langley Vale Wood has pockets of ancient woodland, diverse and fascinating wildlife and flora, and stunning views over the rolling hills of the North Downs. In the coming years, our ambitious woodland creation scheme will transform the existing arable land into both a natural haven and a living memorial to those who sacrificed so much in the First World War.

Features

  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Spring flowers
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Langley Vale Wood

At 260 hectares (640 acres), Langley Vale Wood is the largest of our four centenary woods, one in each country of the UK.

It lies just south of the village of Langley Vale in Surrey and 3.2km (2 miles) south of Epsom. The M25 motorway runs along the southern boundary.

There is currently no car access to Langley Vale Wood. Insted, we ask that you park near Epsom Downs and walk from there.

To access Langley Vale Wood from Epsom Downs, please follow the route/s on the map provided. Although there are a number of public footpaths crossing the Downs, we ask our visitors to follow our recommended route and be mindful that these areas of Epsom Downs are frequently used to exercise racehorses. Racing is synonymous with Epsom and the welfare of their racehorses and riders, and our visitors, is paramount; please help by reading and following the Epsom Downs Code of Conduct for visitors.

Download the map.

The nearest stations are in Ashstead, 3.2km (2 miles) away, Tattenham Corner, 3.7km (2.3 miles) away, and Epsom, 4.2km (2.5 miles) away.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is at Woodcote Park. Services run from Epsom station.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

Access is by public rights of way from Epsom Downs, Tadworth or Walton on the Hill. If walking on Epsom Downs, be aware that racehorse training is carried out there every morning until 12am.

Langley Vale Wood has two bridle paths running through the site and one small stretch of public footpath. It is bordered by public bridle paths to the north, east and west with a wide network of paths to the north on Epsom Downs.

Currently, paths within the site are mainly farm tracks. However, there are plans to create 20km (12 miles) of paths through the site, including 4km (2.5 miles) of hard surface footpaths and 3km (1.9 miles) of multi-user paths for horses and bikes.

There is no car park at Langley Vale Wood at present. Currently we ask that you do not drive to this site. Please drive to Epsom Downs and use the maps provided above.

The nearest public toilets are in Ashtead on Woodfield Lane (KT21 1AT).

Wildlife and habitats

Wildlife

The mixed habitats at Langley Vale Wood are a haven for local wildlife. Look out for signs of roe deer and badgers, and keep your eyes peeled at dusk when you might spot one of the five species of bat recorded at the site.

Enjoy the chorus of birdsong – 59 species have been recorded at the wood including many which are on the Red List of species at risk, such as the cuckoo and skylark.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

The site’s existing woods are largely ancient semi-natural woodland. The three biggest - Great Hurst Wood, Little Hurst Wood and Downs View Wood - are designated Sites of Nature Conservation Importance. In total, 380 species have been recorded in Langley Vale Wood, including 37 ancient woodland indicators.

Great Hurst Wood, on the southern edge, is ancient woodland with ash, oak, beech, and sweet chestnut, and has an excellent bluebell display in spring. Little Hurst Wood and Downs View Wood are mainly ancient woodland with a similar composition to Great Hurst Wood.

Round Wood is mainly hazel coppice and elder with a rich ground flora, including early purple orchids which grow by the paths. Gillettes Wood is mainly ash, cherry and oak.

Look out for:

Habitats

The mix of ancient woodland, grassland and woodland creation at Langley Vale Wood supports a vast range of locally and nationally rare flora and fauna. The woodland is part of the North Downs National Character Area (NCA), a chain of chalk hills across the south-east. Chalk grassland is a notable feature of this landscape and is of ecological importance due to its ability to support rare species.

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About Langley Vale Wood

History

There is evidence of early human habitation in the woodlands and fields making up the site of Langley Vale Wood. A first-century BC tin coin was found in a field near Round Wood, and third and fourth-century Roman coins have also been found in and around the site. There are several Saxon cemeteries dating from the sixth to eighth centuries in the area.

There has been a farm at Langley Vale since the early thirteenth century. It’s likely that the small farming settlement was destroyed by the Black Death in the fourteenth century as it disappeared from records around this time.
Later maps show that part of the site was used as arable land from the mid-eighteenth century and there are also several woods shown: Great Hurst, Little Hurst, and Round Coppice. By the early 1800s, the farm had become part of the Ashtead Park Estate, although it was sold off in 1880.

During the First World War, the Walton and Tadworth end of the site was used for army training and there were trenches, a rifle range, a gas training school and a camp. A timber flag pole from the gas training school is still standing in Round Wood, which was known locally as Gas School Wood.

Poppies, close-up, Langley Vale Wood

Credit: Ben Lee / WTML

First World War Centenary Wood

The Woodland Trust purchased the land for Langley Vale Wood in 2014 as the First World War centenary project site for England. We have planted around 100,000 trees on site, many of these with help from the local community. Approximately 100 hectares will be woodland creation. We’re managing 100 hectares of the site (40%) as open space, much of this as arable habitat for the rare arable plants found here.

Cadets standing to attention among poppies at Heartwood Forest

Support us

Your support matters

We were able to plant trees here thanks to your response to an important appeal. Discover how you helped us create another incredible place for people and wildlife, and what the future holds for this new wood. 

See what we've achieved

Copse sculpture

'Copse' is a sculpture we commissioned to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. In this video, artist John Merril describes the connection between woodland and sculpture.

Things to do at Langley Vale Wood

Early purple orchids

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean
Langley Vale Wood - Management plan

Download

Langley Vale Wood Management Plan

PDF  (303 KB)