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A wild remedy for 0lympic fever
Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) is inviting people to calm their nerves after the excitement of the 0lympic road cycling races with a little wildlife watching at one of its wonderful nature reserves!
The circular route (156 miles for the men and 87 for the women) passes Leatherhead, Dorking, Guildford, West Byfleet and Weybridge, offering a great opportunity to visit one of SWT’s many reserves, which have free entry and bags of scenery and amazing plants and animals to ogle, no matter where you choose to view the race from.
In fact, located within just 250 metres of the route (Including the Mole Gap to Reigate Escarpment), many of the reserves have special status because of the important wildlife they support; there are 28 Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI), 6 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), 1 Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and 1 Special Protection Area (SPA). One habitat type to look out for is rare chalk grassland (found at Norbury Park, listed below), which itself supports many rare plants and animals, particularly invertebrates such as butterflies.
Here are a few of SWT’s nearby reserves, just for starters:
1. Norbury Park (car park off the A246, Leatherhead) – 532 ha of beautiful parkland, farmland and woodland, part of the Mole Gap to Reigate Escarpment Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC), great for butterflies and orchids, managed by SWT on behalf of Surrey County Council (SCC);
2. Milton Heath and the Nower (car park off Westcott Rd / A25, Dorking) – 36 ha of enchanting mixed woodland and open grassland, with excellent far-reaching views, managed by SWT on behalf of Mole Valley District Council;
3. Newlands Corner and Silent Pool (car park off the A25, near Guildford) – 103 ha of wonderful woodland, chalk grassland and ponds, fine views from the ridge of the Albury Downs, visitor centre and snack bar, managed by SWT on behalf of the Albury Estate and SCC;
4. Stringers Common (Brittons Pond car park off Salt Box Rd, Guildford) - part of the Worplesdon Group of Commons, lovely woodland, grassland and including Brittens Pond, SSSI, managed by SWT on behalf of SCC;
5. Papercourt Meadows (access from Tannery Lane, Send, near Woking) where you can also join a free guided walk – 19 ha of wildlife-rich wet grassland, open water and reedbeds, SSSI, owned and managed by SWT;
6. Wisley and Ockham Common (car parks off Old Lane, Ockham and Wisely Lane, Wisley) – 297 ha of heavenly heathland with pine and birch woodland, SSSI, supports rare bird species including nightjar, managed by SWT on behalf of SCC;
7. Manor Farm (access from Mill Lane, Byfleet) - 25 ha of rich grassland with an area of rare wet meadow, great for bird spotting, bird hide, managed and owned by SWT;
8. Chobham Common (parking at Staple Hill and Roundabout car park where the B383 intersects with the B386, Chobham) – 575 ha making up one of the finest heathlands in Britain, over 300 species of wild flowers, 3 types of heather, rare heathland birds and insects, SSSI, Special Protection Area (SPA) and National Nature Reserve (NNR), managed by SWT on behalf of SCC;
9. Nower Wood Educational Nature Reserve (closed reserve with restricted access – please call 01372 379509 before visiting, off B2033) – 33 ha of mixed ancient woodland with ponds, supports dormice, great crested newts, bats and badgers, Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI), visited by 7,000 school children each year for environmental or wildlife education, managed and owned by SWT.
10. Shere Woodlands (parking at West Hanger car park, Staple Lane, East Clandon) - 43 ha of mixed woodland with small areas of grassland, great for chalk grassland plants, SSSI, includes West Hanger, Combe Bottom and Netley Plantation. Managed by SWT on behalf of SCC.
Graham Manning, SWT Countryside Manager, says: “Lycra-clad, 0lympic cyclists will be speeding around the Surrey countryside on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July – surely an extraordinary spectacle - but the excitement doesn’t have to stop there! There are many Surrey Wildlife Trust reserves along the route, where you can unwind, stretch your own legs or spot some wildlife of course, to really make the most of your visit, especially if you’ve travelled a long way for the event.”
Click HERE for a map of the cycle route and SWT reserves.
For further information about the reserves listed on this page please click here.
|Date published:||Tuesday 17 July 2012|