Autumn Colours Box Hill

Activities

Activities which may be enjoyed in any of the locations listed on this site, as well as others, are varied but the following are inevitably the most popular.

Walking  

Of all the activities which people enjoy in the countryside, walking is undoubtedly the most popular.

Walking on open land, especially amongst long grass or thick bracken or undergrowth, brings with it, the risk of ticks which can carry the risk of Lyme disease.  Lyme disease is a serious condition.  Ticks are typically active from March through to October.  The risk of tick bites has become more prevalent in Surrey.  Details of the risks and preventative measures can be found, for example, HERE and HERE

Cycling  

After walking, cycling is probably the next most popular activity on our open spaces.  Some cyclists, so-called 'Lycra louts' are mainly to be found on roads.  The roads around one of the locations mentioned on this website are very popular with cyclists and the dual carriageway nearby has segregated cycle tracks on either side.  However, a few cyclists consider themselves too athletic to use the cycle tracks and prefer the main road.  Of those, a minority sometimes ride in a way to impede traffic trying to overtake safely.  Fortunately, cyclists on open spaces are, on the whole, courteous and safety minded.

Nevertheless, if you cycle off road, please bear a few common sense rules in mind.  Carry, and use, a bell on your bike.  Don't wait until you are close behind walkers before sounding it.  When passing walkers, please give them a wide berth, do not pedal at breakneck speed and ride single file as you go past.  Remember that they have an equal right to enjoy the surroundings and their perspective will be different from yours.

Riding  

Generally speaking, riders are amongst the best behaved of all users of open land in Surrey.  They constitute a community of their own and there is no need to go into detail here.  Some fairly common sense rules are for walkers to stick to footpaths and riders, to bridleways.  When it is necessary for both to share the same stretch of ground, then riders should give walkers a wide berth and walkers should make sure that nothing they do would scare horses.  Here is but one Link

Nature Spotting  

It is inevitable that many people going onto open land will want to enjoy a particular aspect of nature, be it birds, animals, butterflies, wild flowers or trees.  These are subjects in their own right and I hope at a later date to add pages specifically relating to these.  In the meantime, I direct you to the Frank Boxell links in the Photography section of this page.

Photography  

For many people, the smartphone is sufficient to take lovely photos of the outdoors.  Most compact and bridge cameras provide loads of settings and a wide range of focal length to cater for the photographer's every need.  However, for owners of DSLR (or even SLR film cameras), telephoto, wide angle and macro capability deal with many situations.  Telephoto for birds and shy animals like deer, wide angle for landscapes and macro for flowers and insects (OK and arachnids and other creepy-crawlies).   But this is not a photography website, either advising on buying photographic equipment, taking photos or displaying them.  There are just so many websites, blogs, magazines and books out there, you can find something just for you.  These all include publications about nature and wildlife photography.

However, there are some wonderful photo opportunities for photography on open land in Surrey.  So get out there and create images.  Two wonderful websites/blogs featuring photographs of birds, insects and other wildlife in the Ashtead and Epsom areas, produced by a guy called Frank Boxell, can be found HERE and HERE

Dogs  

For many people, walking on open land in a rural spot is synonymous with dog walking.  Indeed, I was once asked why I was walking on a local common when I didn't have a dog.  Now it is said that some people enjoy an activity in such locations, that activity having  'dog' in the name but if that is your predilection, doubtless there are other websites which will address your needs.  This is about four legged friends with a cold wet nose and a waggy tail.  Open land, away from roads, allows the possibility of letting your dog or dogs off the leash to run free.  And why not.  However, there are two negative aspects to dogs which in some cases can be aggravated by the dog not being constrained (see below).  There are, though, 'safe spaces' for exercising dogs where unwanted interactions with humans can be avoided, as shown on The Dog Walking Fields website.  There are several sites in Surrey.

Dogs continued ...
1. Poo

The word 'poo' has a somewhat childish, not to say overly squeamish connotation.  However, modern sensibilities seem to dictate that is the only one acceptable in polite circles, so it is used here.  A dog has a front end and a back end and it is the output from the rear which concerns us here.  Nowadays, it is generally accepted that the hygienic and socially acceptable thing is to carry a 'poo bag' to scoop-up your pet's waste and dispose of it in one of the bins provided in many areas, specifically for that purpose.  Whilst many people execute the first of those processes successfully, many fail at the second stage.  The bags are often hung from low branches or kicked into the undergrowth or even carried out into the road and disposed of there.   I have seen a poo bag hung from the tailgate windscreen wiper of a parked car.  So if you can manage the scooping part, why not complete the exercise and dispose of the bag in the accepted manner?

2. Aggression

It is said that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners and doubtless, there is some truth in that.  However, it is also well-known that some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others.  Many dog owners who exercise dogs on open land in Surrey live in urban or semi-urban environments and the dog is a pet.  In some cases, the dog is the alpha or dominant creature in the household because it has been allowed to adopt that role.  As a consequence, it can exhibit an intimidating, if not dangerous, manner when allowed to run free.  That can be directed towards people, including children, as well as farm stock.  This is in contrast to dogs, especially working dogs, in more remote areas of the hills, mountains and dales in Britain where dogs, on the whole, are better trained and better behaved. So if you know your dog is like this and you are out walking on open land in Surrey, please do not adopt a hostile attitude, defensive of the dog, if it starts to exhibit aggression towards others who feel intimidated.  Kindly keep it on a lead or better still, take it to one of the many dog trainers who can guide both dog and owner towards publicly acceptable behaviour.