© Chris Perrett
Small in size but rich in wildlife.
Fir Tree Copse is part of the Chiddingfold Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is the single, largest woodland complex on the Weald Clay.
Fir Tree Copse is small in size but rich in wildlife and one of the best sites in Surrey for moths.
Comprising of oak and ash with an understorey of hazel coppice, it is particularly worth a visit in spring when the ground flora includes bluebell, wood anemone, yellow pimpernel, dog dog’s mercury, enchanter’s nightshade, wood speedwell, pignut and wood sorrel.
Look carefully and you may spot lily-of-the-valley or wild daffodil, which is only found in a few Surrey Wealden woodlands.
Recent surveys have uncovered some real surprises such as the nationally scarce common fan-foot moth, the county rare lichen Thelotrema lepadinum and a new British record for fungus Seticyphella tenuispora. Many of the interesting fungi species are found on rotting log piles in areas where Surrey Wildlife Trust has made charcoal.
In the area of derelict coppice, biodiversity is generally lower because of the uniform structure and excessive shading. Where SWT has reinstated coppicing or cleared glades and rides, there is now a greater diversity of plants and associated insects.
In the south-western section of the wood there is a clump of very large Scots pine, which is probably the derivation of the name of the copse. They were probably planted as a local supply of railway sleepers, a common practise in many Surrey woodlands.
Along the north-western edge of the site and lying just outside the boundary is the now derelict Wey & Arun canal, which though relatively dry in most places, is of interest for its marshland plants.
Species and habitats