the ponds

near Esher and Oxshott


the middle pond at Fairmile Common

It looks so tranquil but, in fact, the middle pond is right near the Esher by-pass and traffic can be heard roaring past close at hand.

In spring there is less shrubbery and wild Rhododendrons can be seen blooming in the area. The middle pond is the most picturesque because it is set within hills. It was created by building a dam in the south.

the black pond at Esher Common

The black pond is the most well-known of the ponds in the area.

the pond at Littleheath Common

The pond at Littleheath Common is the most recent. There were brick and gravel workings in the area and the pond was a gravel pit. Expensive houses line the north bank of the pond and the residents all have boats. The pond is popular with fishermen and is dangerous due to it's depth.


I do not fish but this page has been found by fishermen so I will try to advise. Fishing is banned at the Black pond but fishermen can be seen at the Middle Pond and at the Littleheath Pond. Both sites may provide a limited number of places to set up gear. The nearest fishing supplier I know of is F.U. - Fishing Unlimited, at East Molesey, near to Hampton Court Palace. There are several ponds on the west side of th A3 road, but I have not covered these. They are smaller.


At one time nude swimming was permitted in the black pond, where it is dammed in the west. It originated in Victorian times when attitudes to public nudity were more liberal than they are now. Apparently, most of the participants were women. There was a roped enclosure in the water and there were changing rooms. All have gone and the practice is no longer encouraged - a victim of our increasingly prudish and centralist society. I presume it was the nudity which caused our parents to tell us to stay away from the Black pond - certainly, I never witnessed it.

In response to interest from naturist groups...

There may be a move towards returning the nudist swimming area and I will try to post any developments. In the meantime, there was a well-known nudist swimming hole on the River Mole, at Cobham, near Downside Bridge. It is fenced off and is reached via a stile, to the west of the footpath that crosses the fields. You may find that it is licenced to a local fishing club, but people usually fish from the other bank. This swimming hole was active some years back but may now be found to be sadly overgrown. A local woman told me that she and her children used to swim there. Latterly, local boys, wearing baggy swimming shorts, used to swim where the cattle drink, a short way to the south.