Exploring Lightwater Country Park, Surrey

by Jan

Lightwater Country Park lies between Camberley and Woking in the village of Lightwater, Surrey.  This large heathland park is a lovely natural area with ponds, meadows, and woodland.  It is a great outdoor space, that is just perfect for a walking, cycling, or a playdate with kids.

The park covers 59 hectares and has plenty to offer its visitors.  Even better, admission to the park and parking are both free.  It’s one of our nearest country parks and we’ve been many times, on foot, by bike and by car.  Read on for the best things to see and do at Lightwater Country Park in Surrey.

Walking routes at Lightwater Country Park

Easy access route

Boy on bike by Lightwater Country Park Pond in Surrey

One of the prettiest areas at Lightwater Country Park is beside the ponds.  This makes a great meeting spot and is a good place to start your visit.   From here you can follow the scenic easy access route.  This flat trail follows around the ponds and leads to the playing fields.  It has hard-surfaced path along the route and is suitable for most buggies and wheelchairs.

In total, there are three ponds at Lightwater Country Park and these provide an important rare habitat for local wildlife.  Nature-lovers will enjoy the waterside, as the ponds attract a lot of waterfowl, including moorhen, geese, and swans.  You’ll find several feeding platforms for children to feed the ducks.

The largest of the ponds, Hammond Pond is the quieter of the three and is also a popular fishing spot.  In summer it’s provides a stunning landscape, with waterlilies and rhododendrons.

The Nature Trail

If you are visiting with younger children, you could try the family-friendly nature trail.  This short trail starts in the woodland area besides the lake.  Children can scavenge for nature, whilst learning about the origins of Lightwater and its environs.

Purple and orange walking routes

Views from High Curley Hill, Lightwater Country Park, Surrey, UK

The main walking routes at Lightwater Country Park start at the rear of the car park.  These waymarked routes are less accessible than those by the pond, as they can be steep in sections.

The purple route has a sharp ascent up some wooden steps to the summit of High Curley Hill.  At 129 metres above sea level, High Curley Hill is one of the highest viewpoints in Surrey.

From the top you’ll get magnificent views stretching over Surrey, towards Bagshot Park and the London skyline.  There is a toposcope at the top, so you know which direction you’re looking in.

Toposcope at summit of High Curley Hill, Lightwater Country Park, Surrey, UK

As you follow the trail to the side of the hill, you’ll notice the landscape changes to heathland and gorse.  It’s quite a contrast to the woodland areas and very natural.

Lightwater Country Park provides a great outdoor space for walking with some fantastic scenery.  Dogs are welcome here and the park is very popular with dog-walkers.  However, in some places dogs must be on a lead, because of the ground-nesting birds.

At times, you will notice traffic noise because of its proximity to the M3 motorway.

Wildlife at Lightwater Country Park

Wildlife on the pond at Lightwater Country Park, Surrey

The heathland at the Country Park is a protected site of special scientific interest (SSSI) because of the habitat for wildlife it provides.  As well as attracting many birds and insects, you may see mammals, such as foxes and deer.

Between April and July, a herd of grazing goats visit the park as part of the ongoing conservation programme.  The goats are on loan from the Surrey Wildlife Trust and graze on the scrub and gorse to maintain the open heathland.

Another common inhabitant of the heathland are snakes.  Keep your eye out for adders in the heather.

The new adventure playground

New playground, Lightwater country park, Surrey, UK

If you are visiting with children, the highlight of the trip will be the new park.  Last year, thousands of pounds were spent on a fantastic new play area.  Plus, the playground moved nearer to the café, which is far better for supervising parents!

The new adventure playground is a great improvement and now features lots of natural play equipment, including climbing frames, nets, monkey bars and agility trails.  Of course, it still has the traditional favourites such as playhouses, swings, roundabouts, and slides.

Cycling at Lightwater Country Park

Cycling at Lightwater Country Park, Surrey, UK

If you live in Bagshot or Camberley you can cycle or walk to Lightwater Country Park from the other direction.

There is a small car park on the B3015 which has paths leading to several unmarked trails.  Make sure you don’t miss the pedestrian tunnel which takes you under the M3.  This route will lead you pass the old military vehicle testing centre to the other side of High Curley Hill.

It is a pretty woodland route, but has a long slow ascent if you’re cycling.  It’s also a very steep ride on the way back, and you may have to get off and walk.

Once inside the country park there are several short but pretty routes using the walking trails.  The area around the ponds is ideal for younger children, but they would probably struggle on the purple route.

Lightwater Leisure Centre

In the middle of the country park is Lightwater Leisure Centre, which is open to the public.  It has a gym, sports hall and fitness suite.  In front of the leisure centre is a large playing field, with plenty of space for ball games.

Eating at Lightwater Country Park

The playground is now adjacent to the café, where you will also find toilet facilities. This is open from 10am to 4pm, 7 days a week.  There are also lots of picnic spots with benches around the park.

Getting to Lightwater Country Park

Lightwater Country park is between the villages of Bagshot and Lightwater in Surrey, South-East England.  The postcode is GU18 5RG.

It’s easy to get to by car as it’s just off Junction 3 of the M3 motorway.  From Guildford and Bracknell, it is signposted from the A322.

The park is open from 6am to 10pm, but obviously the facilities aren’t open so late.

Parking at Lightwater Country Park

Parking at the country park is free.  Plus, there are no admission charges, so is an ideal place for a trip out with kids.  Its proximity to the M3 junction also makes it a good stopover on a long journey or a midway meet.

There is a height restriction barrier of 2 metres, so you’ll have to park outside if your vehicle is higher.

Have you been to Lightwater Country Park in Surrey?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

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