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Many of our most diverse habitats are dominated by water; the running water of rivers, streams, winterbournes and ditches, the still waters of natural lakes, ponds, reservoirs and restored quarries and the still rivers that are canals. Terrestrial habitats such as marsh, fen, bog, reedbeds and carr woodland also rely on the constant presence of large quantities of water. Some of these habitats are represented within the AONB including Thursley & Ockley Bog, the only Ramsar site in Surrey and the only deep-water swamp in Surrey is just a few metres outside the AONB boundary at Moor Park, east of Farnham. The two main rivers within the AONB are the Wey between Farnham and Milford and the Mole between Dorking and Leatherhead, both flowing north to join the River Thames.The main challenges continue to be water quality, both chemical and biological with connectivity also hugely important within rivers as obstructions and low flows can dramatically affect the life cycle of many species within the aquatic food web

Who might you see?

Great-crested newt


Water vole




Dragonflies / Damselflies


Watch our Making Space for Nature film, celebrating the 150-year birthday of composer of the Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughn Williams and our mosaic of habitats in the Surrey Hills.

This video was created in partnership with the National Trust.