If you’re looking for a tranquil walk in the woods and a place to cool off for pups who like a swim, Esher Common in South-West London is a great choice. With tall trees that make you feel like you’ve gone much further afield than Surrey and two lakes, one of which is great for dog swimming, the Esher Common walks will give you plenty to discover with your dog.
In fact, Esher Common is one of our favourite places to walk in this area, so in today’s post, we’ll share with you all the info we wished we’d had when we first visited in case you decide to plan a visit.
Located in south-west Surrey just 30 minutes drive from South London, Esher Common is actually made up of five different commons – Esher Common, West End Lane Common, Oxshott Common, Fairmile Common and Arbrook Common. And although it’s located near the A3, Esher Common is a peaceful place to walk your dog.
We’ve previously featured walks on Oxshott Common on the blog, but today we’ll be talking about how the Esher Common walks are perfect for exploring with your pup. As a bonus, there are actually two parts to Esher Common, which can easily be combined into one walk or you can do them individually.
Black Pond – Esher Common Walks
First up is Black Pond, the better known of Esher Common’s water spots. This is a fairly large lake home to ducks and wildlife, and although technically dogs can swim here, it’s not the most suitable of the two ponds on the Common for dog swimming due to the ducks that swim and breed here.
You can reach Black Pond from either of the two car parks mentioned in this post, but the closest is Horseshoe Clump Car Park (see the ‘How to Get to Esher Common by Car’ section below). From here, it’s a pleasant walk through the woods (about 15 minutes) until you reach a natural fork in the path.
The path to the right (in the photo above) is the shortest distance to Black Pond, where you can stop and take some time to enjoy the view.
From there, you can continue in a loop around the back of the pond through the woods of tall trees. Then there are two options to choose from. You can go up the hill crossing the overpass over the A3 towards Middle Pond or Oxshott Woods if you want a longer walk (more on that in a moment). Or you can keep Black Pond to your left (note it’s not always possible to see Black Pond as you head into the woods) and continue in a loose circle back around the back of the lake until you emerge on the path that would have been the left-hand fork.
If you time your visit right (we went late on a sunny afternoon), the sun coming through the trees is beautiful, and you can get some great photos.
This walk took us about an hour, including time for photos and was doable for Belinha as a senior pup.
Middle Pond – Esher Common Walks
On the other side of the A3 (via the overpass from the Black Pond side), is Middle Pond.
This can also be reached by parking in the Lakewood car park (see the ‘How to Get To Esher Common by Car‘ section below) so can be done as a standalone walk if you prefer.
Middle Pond is hidden in the woods so perfect for a quiet swim if your dog likes a dip. There are shallow spots around the edges for those pups who prefer just to paddle too.
At this point we should mention if your dog goes swimming in open water, you should always check for the presence of blue-green algae in the water as this is extremely toxic to dogs – you can read more about blue-green algae here.
Moleque definitely enjoyed the opportunity for a dip before we carried on over to Black Pond. For us, when we come from Middle Pond, we walk to but not around Black Pond before doubling back to the Lakewood car park. This is a pleasant walk (and swim) for the dogs without being too much for Belinha either.
As talked about previously, this walk can also be combined with the extended Oxshott Woods Walk for dogs who really need tiring out.
Esher Common Dog Walk Tips
Similar to the other walks we’ve discovered in this area, dog poo bins are lacking, so try and get that out of the way near the car parks where there are usually bins.
Likewise, there aren’t any places for refreshments unless you visit one of the dog-friendly pubs nearby (see the ‘Dog-friendly Places‘ section below), so bring plenty of water for everybody.
Other Good Dog Walks In the Area
The Esher Common Dog Walks can easily be combined with the Oxshott Woods Dog Walk on Oxshott Common which has a giant sandpit to discover. Due to the longer duration, this combination would only be suitable for energetic dogs who can walk a long distance. Senior pups (or those with very short legs), would be better tackling the walks as separate walks over several visits.
Exploring the other ‘Commons’ is also an option (West End Lane Common, Fairmile Common and Arbrook Common) – you will see from the map in the ‘Useful Resources‘ section, that they are all close by.
Finally, also nearby is Claremont Landscape Garden – beautiful National Trust landscaped gardens around a lake where dogs are welcome between the beginning of October and end of March. We haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet but it’s been on our to-do list for a while, so we’ll let you know when we do.
Dog-friendly Places Near Esher Common
The Prince of Wales in Esher welcomes dogs in the bar area. It’s just a 2-minute drive from the Esher Common car park, a 10-minute bus ride (Bus 715) from Blackhills bus stop to Claremont Ave and then a 10-minute walk or alternatively, a 20-minute walk from Black Pond via West End Lane Common.
The Wheatsheaf on The Green welcomes well-behaved dogs on a lead in the pub area and on the terrace. It’s just a 5-minute drive from the car park, a 5-minute bus ride (Bus 715) from Blackhills to Esher Green or a 40-minute walk from Black Pond.
How to Get to Esher Common By Car
The closest car park to Black Pond is the Horseshoe Clump Car Park – for sat navs use KT10 9JL. When we went, this car park was closed due to the Coronavirus, but we were able to park on a layby on the left-hand side a bit further down Portsmouth Road.
The closest car park to Middle Pond is Lakeview Car Park – for sat navs use KT11 1BG.
How to Get to Esher Common By Public Transport
Getting the train from Waterloo to Esher takes just 30 minutes directly, and then you can take the 715 bus from Esher station.
For Black Pond, it’s then a 10-minute bus ride to Blackhills bus stop, which is right next to the Common.
For Middle Pond, it’s a 15-minute bus ride to Waterford Close, again right next to the Common.
The 715 bus also comes from Kingston (30 minutes to Esher station), so that’s also an option if you are close to Kingston.
There’s a useful map provided by Elmbridge Council which gives you a good sense of the different commons.
Paws Up or Paws Down For Esher Common?
I’ve already said this is one of our favourite walks in the area, so that was a bit of a giveaway that Esher Common gets a ‘Paws Up’ from us.
The different options that the Esher Common walks offer, either alone or combined with one of the other nearby Commons, make it a definite winner in our eyes. There is something for dogs of all ages and abilities – whether you like a gentle stroll or a long hike. Plus being able to take a doggy dip is a bonus too.
The main ‘Paws Down’ on the Esher Common walks was the lack of dog poo bins. At Black Pond, there is a bin, but it says no dog waste, which is frustrating as no alternative bin is provided. Finally, given that Esher Common is not far from the A3, if your dog doesn’t have good recall and may run off, you should keep them on a long lead.
In short, we can definitely recommend adding the Esher Common walks to your to-visit list.
* Please do not take public transport to the walk featured in this post during the Coronavirus pandemic. Only visit if you can get there by car. Any public transport information included in this post is for future reference.
* Likewise, any dog-friendly recommendations (e.g. pubs) in this post are for future reference.
* You should social distance staying at least 2m away from other walkers. The paths re generally wide, so this is not a problem. On the narrower paths, you can move off the path to allow others to pass if need be.