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Surrey Wildlife Trust to manage Blindley Heath Common
Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) has agreed to manage Blindley Heath Common (BHC) for a period of 25 years, on behalf of Godstone Parish Council (GPC), which owns the land.
The Common consists of 26 hectares of grassland, woodland, scrub and ponds and is “the best known example of relict damp grassland on Weald Clay in Surrey” (SSSI citation). It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
The common supports a variety of important plants and invertebrates which need to be conserved with appropriate management to secure their future, so the Trust will prepare a detailed management plan, to be agreed by GPC and Natural England (NE), and consult with the new Liaison Group (which replaces the previous management committee). Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) funding from NE and £2k per annum from GPC will help pay for the management.
The main aim will be to maintain and enhance the grassland and the animals it supports. The area has been grazed by cattle (owned by a local smallholder) for some time which helps to keep the coarse grasses and scrub in check, allowing the more delicate grasses and flowering plants a chance to thrive. Grazing will continue and some scrub and tree removal will be necessary to connect areas of open grassland, enabling wildlife to move about to find food and mates, and to achieve the correct balance between the various habitats. The Trust will also maintain and improve existing informal public access and horse riding routes; repair and maintain existing fences and gates and remove litter from the Common.
Bob Crompton, SWT ranger, says: “Surrey Wildlife Trust is looking forward to working with Godstone Parish Council on this important and valued Common, to conserve the habitat - including the wildlife it supports - and to enable the use and enjoyment of it for local people and visitors”.
|Date published:||Tuesday 24 July 2012|