Surrey Hills AONB Boundary Review

The article has been written to promote local discussion to inform the Parish Council’s submission to the current boundary review of the AONB. Proposals need to be submitted by 31st January 2021.

Full details of the review can be found here.

The boundary of the Surrey Hills AONB has not been reviewed since it was established in 1958. The Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) designation was created to protect some areas adjacent to the AONB that might be considered of value at a County level. The entire village of Headley is included in the Metropolitan Green Belt which will not change in this review.

The current boundaries are shown in the diagram:

  • The yellow shading marks the AONB
  • The grey shading marks the AGLV

Natural England, who are carrying out the review, have designated an “Area of Search” as a starting point for the review and this includes the whole area up to the built-up areas in Ashtead and Leatherhead.



The local Area of Search is shown as the shaded area in the smaller map to the left..

The following factors have been developed for assessing landscapes for national designation:

  • Landscape quality – This is a measure of the current physical state or condition of the landscape and its features.
  • Scenic quality – The extent to which the landscape appeals to the senses (primarily, but not only, the visual senses).
  • Relative wildness – The degree to which relatively wild character can be perceived in the landscape and makes a particular contribution to sense of place.
  • Relative tranquillity – The degree to which relative tranquillity can be perceived in the landscape.
  • Natural heritage features – The influence of natural heritage on the perception of the natural beauty of the area. Natural heritage includes flora, fauna, geological and physiographical features.
  • Cultural heritage – The influence of cultural heritage on the perception of natural beauty of the area and the degree to which associations with particular traditions, people, artists, writers or events in history contribute to such perception.

Evidence to submit to the Review
The review will look at a series of Evidence Areas. Headley is part of Evidence Area 7 – as shown shaded grey on the map.

Individuals can submit their own evidence. The following advice has been given:

YES PLEASE – we do want…

Evidence that supports the presence of one or more of the natural beauty factors. As a minimum, we ask you to provide:

  • Location – a point on the map
  • Photograph with descriptive text related to the Natural Beauty of the location

and optionally, if you can, and would like to provide more information:

  • Additional supporting comments, documents, photos, etc.
  • Evidence that may also detract from the natural beauty factors

NO THANKS – we do not want…

Evidence which is not related to the natural beauty factors. Please note that we cannot take account of:

  • Evidence from significantly built-up areas
  • Future potential of the landscape to express the natural beauty factors
  • Pressure or threat of development
  • Detailed surveys which do not have a direct bearing on an appreciation of the landscape e.g. species or archaeological surveys
  • Photographs or documents with no explanation of why they are provided

Details on how to submit your own evidence are provided here.

Parish Council: Issues to discuss

In order to prepare our submission, the Parish Council would value your views on the following issues:

  • Should we propose any parts of Headley be removed from the current AONB area?
    • Has their landscape value been reduced?
    • Are the associated restrictions on planning causing problems?
  • Should we propose that the areas currently within the AGLV be included in the AONB?
    • Is it appropriate to increase planning controls along the Church Lane central area of the village?
    • Does the creation of the Woodland Trust Centenary Wood increase its significance and landscape value?
  • Are there other areas of Headley that should be recommended for inclusion in the AONB?
    • The areas of Nower Wood and Oyster Wood form the skyline for much of Southern London – should they be included?
    • Should we request a similar change be made for Epsom Downs?
    • Should the Northern half of Tyrrells Wood Golf Club be included?
    • If we are proposing that the AONB be extended, what boundary should be put around Headley Court to exclude it? Or should it be separated out as an “island” wholly surrounded by AONB?

The final map shows three possible new boundaries which would include Nower Wood and Oyster Wood within the AONB:

  • The red line would follow the A24 Leatherhead by-pass, then the M25, then Stane Street before joining the current AGLV boundary at Langley Vale Road
  • The orange line would leave out all the gardens of properties in The Drive West of Stane Street and then follow Stane Street.
  • The yellow line would leave out all the gardens in The Drive, but add the Tyrrells Wood golf course, Nower Wood and Oyster Hill to the current AGLV
  • For the red and orange options, a decision would need to made whether to exclude the Headley Court development from the AONB – as indicated by the green line.


If you wish to contribute to the Parish Council submission, please send your ideas to or deliver them to David Preedy, 12 Hurst Close, Headley, KT18 6DZ.

We need any feedback by 24th January 2022.