Kenley Common is more than a nature reserve or museum: it is a place where local people and visitors from further away can enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside just a stone’s throw from London. Nature lovers, walkers, cyclists and horse riders can explore its rights of way, enjoying the tranquility of this beautiful area.
The wide, surfaced track that circumvents the airfield offers an all weather and accessible circular route that’s nearly two miles in length. It’s also a great place to run or learn to ride a bike. Please always remember, however, that Kenley is an active airfield, so for your safety observe all warning signs and remain outside the airfield safety fence when pedestrian gates are shut and gliders are flying. When the pedestrian gates are open, you may walk across the airfield at your own risk – Kenley is always in use as an emergency landing ground.
Visitors are attracted by Kenley Common’s natural aspect (incongruously close to suburban Surrey and London), diverse wildlife and impressive views across South London. All in one place you will find wooded downland and farmland surrounding a relic WWII airfield that is grazed by cattle and sheep. From the clay-with-flint plateau to the steep chalk slopes, the range of soils (acid through to neutral and alkaline) gives Kenley its rich ecology, supporting a diverse and interesting mix of plants and animals. Hedgerow and scrub areas, planted along field boundaries, provide valuable shelter and food for a variety of birds including the yellowhammer, while the woodlands, dominated by oak, ash and beech, provide homes for tree creepers, nuthatches and sparrowhawks.