The Civil Parish of Frensham, comprising the Wards of Rushmoor and Frensham, extends over an area of approximately 16 km2 and is one of the most western parishes in Surrey, sharing a common boundary at its western edge with Hampshire, and thus with Alice Holt Forest and the South Downs National Park. At the last census in 2001 (preliminary results of the 2011 census are not due until July 2012) the parish had a population of 1677 persons living in 631 households.
The principal settlements in the parish are at Frensham, ie that part which is centred around the Grade II* Listed Church of St Mary the Virgin, which together with the historic parts of The Street constitutes a conservation area; Millbridge, also a conservation area containing ten listed buildings; Shortfield Common, where the Village Shop and Parish Office are located; and Rushmoor, in the eastern part of the parish.
Frensham is very much a rural parish, being characterised by a gently undulating topography of heathland, woodland, farms, small-holdings and grazing for horses. The north/south main road (A287) from Farnham to Hindhead bisects the parish, but most of the minor roads are narrow and winding and unsuitable for heavy traffic.
The South Branch of the River Wey flows through the parish past the southwest corner of Frensham Great Pond, through Millbridge and on to Tilford, where it joins the North Branch of the Wey flowing down from Farnham.
Geologically, the parish lies largely on the Lower Greensand, both in the river valley and on the surrounding plateaux, which gives rise to poor quality light and sandy soils, relatively unproductive for agriculture, but producing ecologically rich heathland habitats on Frensham Common and elsewhere in the parish.
The entire parish enjoys county-level designation as an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV). The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), designated in 1958, washes over nearly 80% of the parish, the exception being a small area between Shortfield Common Road/Pitt Lane and Alice Holt Forest (ie in the Shortfield Common, West End, Broomfields, Pitt Farm and Woodhill areas of the parish). Much of the parish falls within the Green Belt. Details of the various boundaries can be seen by clicking here.
Frensham Common, which includes both Great and Little Ponds, is owned by the National Trust and covers a substantial part of the centre of the parish. It is designated as part of the Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is afforded protection accordingly. This SSSI also has international designation as part of the Wealden Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) and as a Special Conservation Area (SCA) under the EU Habitats Directive. The Flashes Local Nature Reserve (LNR), located between Rushmoor and Churt, is also a SSSI. Frensham Little Pond is managed by the National Trust with the rest of the Common, including The Flashes and the area around the Great Pond being managed by Waverley Borough Council on behalf of the National Trust. The RSPB’s nature reserve at Farnham Heath lies partly within the parish boundary.