Effingham Common is one of the local treasures of Effingham. It holds a particular local significance due to its history, recreational value, richness of wildlife and its peace and tranquillity. Views from the highest point of the Common, on a clear day, extend to the Chilterns Hills, and well-knownlandmarks in London can be seen such as the Wembley Arch.
As a Registered Common it lies within Effingham and borders East Horsley parish serving residents from both communities. It is criss-crossed with bridleways and footpaths including part of the Horsley Jubilee Trial sponsored by the Surrey Hills Partnership. Horse riding and walking are regular activities seen across the Common all through the year, and for over 150 years cricket has been played here.
Effingham Common serves the important purpose of contributing to and enhancing biodiversity and is designated as an important wildlife area for woodland and grassland flora and fauna. It is part of the wildlife corridor that connects the Surrey Hills AONB and Bookham Commons SSSI. In the spring and summer Skylarks breed here, and their familiar call is part of the joys of the area.
The Common is an area of historic importance dating back to medieval times. It was owned by the Lord of the Manor, but the land was unsuitable for tillage and could not be rented out profitably like other fields. Instead the Lord of the Manor allowed villagers to use the land for grazing and the collecting of fallen wood. Households allowed to make use of the land in this way greatly valued their ‘Commoners Rights’ because they were such an important supplement to their diet and domestic economy. The Common still has four Commoners who have these ancient rights.
Biennially the Commoners and local residents celebrate theexercise of Commoners Rights. As many as 550 people have come to witness the exercise of the rights on Commoners Day. The organisers are: The Friends of Effingham Common, Effingham Parish Council and Guildford Borough Council, and the Mayor will often open proceedings. Commoners Day is part of the programme of local events in the parish.
During the 18thand 19thcenturies there was a substantial brick making industry based on the Commondue to significant clay deposits. There are still many surviving signs of brick manufacturingincluding disused clay pits and forgotten or rejected bricks.
Guildford Borough Council own the greater part of the Common and have recently designated this part a SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace). Effingham Parish Council also owns parts which are held in trust for the residents of Effingham and managed by a charity, Effingham Village Recreation Trust (EVRT).