Visit Farthing Downs
With panoramic views of London's skyline, ancient history, wildlife-rich chalk grassland and expansive countryside walks, Farthing Downs offers something for everyone.
Situated at the tip of the North Downs on the edge of London and Surrey, this chalk spur is home to an array of birds, butterflies and wildflowers; combined with neighbouring Happy Valley, Farthing Downs has the most extensive population of greater yellow-rattle in London which can be seen among brightly coloured orchids, bedstraws and scabious in spring and summer.
Farthing Downs is open all year round and is easily reached by public transport direct from Central London. You'll find a visitor car park, site information and toilet facilities at the southern edge of the site just off Ditches Lane. The car park is open each day from 7am and closes at dusk (see closing times below or the timeboard at the car park).
Car park closing times
|Start day||Date||Closing time|
|Closing time stays at 9pm until Monday 14 August|
|Closing time stays at 4.30pm until January 2024|
Car park at the southern end of the site. See Parking at Farthing Downs.
Cattle and sheep on site throughout the year as part of our conservation programme. Please see below under access.
Network of marked paths and bridleways and permissive rides. The Farthing Downs and Happy Valley Nature Trail starts from the car park and can be followed as a celebrity narrated audio trail using a mobile phone.
The Downlands Circular Walk starts from the car park and can be done as a 3 mile or 6 mile route.
Gates at most entrances. Unsurfaced paths (apart from a short section from the car park to the information point). Disabled access and toilets at the car park.
There are many marked paths, bridleways and permissive rides however, the ground may be rough and uneven in places and can be muddy during winter.
Please be aware that we have cattle (cows, calves and a bull) and sheep on Farthing Downs throughout the year. Please keep your dog until close control and on the lead in fields with sheep. For more information, please see the posters on gate entrances and noticeboards.
We welcome dogs that are under effective control. Please don't let your dog chase wildlife and bag and bin any dog mess.
As a National Nature Reserve for rare wildlife, ground nesting birds during Spring and Summer are easily disturbed by dogs off the lead. Please respect Ranger's requests if you are asked to put your dog on a lead.
Our Rangers work on a rotation with staff on call out of working hours (5pm - 8am and weekends). In an emergency please call 01372 279488. Our regular contact number is 01372 279083.
Farthing Downs is open at all times. Use of car park is within times stated above and on timeboards. Vehicles will be locked in overnight.
Best time to visit
Anytime, but spring and summer are best for wildflowers, butterflies and birds.
BBQs, fires and fireworks are not permitted on Farthing Downs or any of our sites.
There is a high risk of fire to rare and protected wildlife.
There are regular Thameslink and Southern service trains from central London (Victoria, London St. Pancras International, London Bridge) and Brighton. Alight at Coulsdon South station for Farthing Downs. From here, it is a short 5 minute walk to Farthing Downs via Reddown Road. For travel times, please see the National Rail Enquiries website.
The no.60 Bus runs from Croydon towards Coulsdon and there are several stops within walking distance to Farthing Downs alighting at Marlpit Lane and Chaldon Way. For travel times, please see the Transport For London website.
From Monday 25 January a new parking system will be in place and a daily parking charge will apply - see our car parking and season ticket page.
Farthing Downs can be easily reached from junction 7 of the M25. There is a pay and display car park on Farthing Downs. The number of spaces is limited and it can be busy at weekends and on bank holidays.
Alternatively, you can use on street parking on residential roads near to Coulsdon South station within parking restrictions or nearby parking at Coulsdon Common by the Fox Public House or Happy Valley Park.
Biking is a popular way of reaching Farthing Downs and is part of the London-Paris long distance cycle route. Cycle racks are available in the car park.
Get in touch
Contact Merlewood Estate Office
The Office is situated on the edge of Coulsdon Common in Caterham on the Hill and is the central hub for both the Coulsdon and West Wickham Commons staff. Here you will find a small information point where you can speak to a member of staff, pick up maps, visitor guides and other publications about each of the commons.
Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm.