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Chobham Mystery to be revealed through SITA funding boost

Tuesday 1st March 2016

The Bee Garden, Chobham Common

Surrey Wildlife Trust is today celebrating the news that it has received a £48K funding award from SITA Trust for Access Improvements at Chobham Common National Nature Reserve. These improvements are much needed to benefit both people and wildlife.

the project will provide visitors with the opportunity to walk or ride a number of circular routes along the improved tracks.

The south eastern part of Chobham Common National Nature Reserve (NNR) currently suffers from poor visitor accessibility. The footpaths and bridleways are not defined so visitors can get lost, wandering off route and increasing soil erosion, and during the winter they are boggy and can become completely impassable.

The funding will allow the improvement of a major access track on to the common and a wonderful opportunity to tell the story of a fascinating and intriguing area of the common. Though a scheduled ancient monument, the Bee Garden has a history that remains a mystery and many have debated the origin of this large earthwork. The remains of a Napoleonic fort, a Roman building, or even a medieval Bee Garden supplying highly sought after honey and beeswax to pay local tithes have all been considered as the function of this familiar local feature.

When completed, with the help of volunteers and local contractors, the project will provide visitors with the opportunity to walk or ride a number of circular routes along the improved tracks.

The project will also improve the biodiversity of species on Chobham Common by removing invasive rhododendron, creating new pond habitats and creating woodland glades.

Steve Fry, Surrey Wildlife Trust Ranger for Chobham Common said:

“This is a wonderful opportunity to improve the public’s access to this inspiring site whilst at the same time protecting its rare wildlife. We are extremely grateful for the support of Chobham Parish Council, Chobham Common Riders Association and the County Council’s Rights of Way team who have enabled these much needed improvements”

Marianne Ivin of SITA Trust added

“This project was supported through the Trusts Accessing Nature Fund and is a wonderful demonstration of how organisations can ensure that wildlife is protected whilst allowing the public the opportunity to fully appreciate its varied beauty and the benefits it has to offer. SITA Trust provides grants through the Landfill Communities Fund. This important source of funding has been available since 1997 and has provided such worthy projects with more than £1.4 billion.”

Tagged with: Fundraising, Chobham Common, Funding, Grant, National Nature Reserve, NNR, SITA