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Earlswood Common

The Redhill and Earlswood Commons includes the areas known as the Earlswood Common. The Commons as a whole, along  with other areas of open space nearby form one of the largest areas of continuous public open space in the borough.

November 2020: Blue-green algae at Earlswood Lakes

Since the end of August our Greenspaces team have been dealing with a case of blue-green algae at Earlswood Lakes. As of Thursday 5 November, we can confirm that the algae is still present in the top lake (furthest from the car park). We’d like to remind visitors to avoid contact with the water and dog owners should not let their pets swim or drink from the lakes under any circumstance. Blue-green algae releases toxins that can be very harmful to humans and our furry friends.

If you believe you have come into contact with blue-green algae and begin to feel unwell you should seek medical attention. If your pet starts to become unwell you should seek veterinary advice.

In line with advice from the Environment Agency, we’ll be carrying out further tests on the water every 2-3 weeks as we continue to monitor the situation. It is hoped that as the temperature drops over the winter, nature will correct the issue for itself. We will continue to work with the Environment Agency and follow their guidance as we track the waters progress over the next few months.

We’re pleased to confirm that the algae is no longer present in the bottom lake (closest to the car park). Fishing has now resumed in this lake only.

Keep checking our social media pages and website for updates. Please continue to pass this news on to fellow residents who visit the Lakes regularly. Thank you.

Bird Box Trail at Earlswood Lakes

We have teamed up with the Men In Sheds at Furnistore Merstham and local artists to produce a fantastic bird box trail around Earlswood Lakes.  See if you can spot all 23 from the lake paths. 

Dog Control at Earlswood Common

Dogs need to be kept on leads in the car park and on the paths around the lakes (the pink areas on the map). Dogs can be off the lead on the rest of the common.  Please also remember to pick up after your dog. 

Nature and habitats

Earlswood Common is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and also a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI). The area is a haven for wildlife and is used and enjoyed by many local people as it borders Woodhatch, Mead Vale, Redhill, Earlswood and South Earlswood and also linking with Salfords and the edge of Reigate.

Earlswood Common contains a variety of habitats including two large lakes, a number of smaller ponds, wetland corridors, scattered trees and woodland and semi-improved grassland which includes the nationally rare plant Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The presence of Chamomile is one of the main reasons for the SNCI designation. Other species of interest include Dwarf Gorse (Ulex minor), acid grassland and Sedges.

Animal species seen on the Common include Roe deer, rabbits and foxes. The site is also important for bats, birds and many species of insects. In addition the wetland habitats make the site ideal for toads and frogs.

History

Evidence exists of human activity on the Common dating back thousands of years. This includes the remnants of a bowl barrow on this site and Bronze Age artefacts found in the area. The site was used for tile making in the Middle Ages.

The Lower Lake is the older of the two lakes. It is mentioned as early as 1363 and was used for swimming and skating at the end of the 19th Century, with maps of 1896 showing bathing boxes present on both lakes.

Earlswood Common was the site of the Reigate Workhouse in the 19th Century, and this later became Redhill Hospital.

Earlswood Common has many cultural links, and was mentioned by Charles Dickens in various articles that he wrote and the Common was home to George Eliot, another famous Victorian author, for a while.

Management of the Redhill and Earlswood Commons

The Earslwood Common Management Steering Group was set up a number of years ago to bring together many of the users of the Common so that issues and opportunities could be discussed and agreed upon, thus avoiding potential conflicts between different groups. It has recently been decided to increase the area of coverage of the Group to include all the former Redhill and Earslwood Commons. These include Redhill Common, Petridgewood Common and also New Pond Farm, Felland Copse and Lonesome Lane Recreation Ground.

The area of land that is now covered is one of the most significant areas of publicly accessible land within the Borough of Reigate and Banstead, and there are very many opportunities for the improvement of the area both for people and wildlife.