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Howell Hill

Old chalk spoil heaps with a variety of chalk downland flora.

Howell Hill reserve originally consisted of old chalk spoil heaps created in the 1960s when the adjoining school playing fields were levelled. The site was left unmanaged for many years and now shows a great deal of variety for such a small area, combining grassland, scrub and woodland.

In the southern part of the reserve a variety of chalk downland flora can be found. Some 260 kinds of flowering plants have been recorded, including large colonies of mouse-eared hawkweed and kidney vetch; bee, common spotted, fragrant, pyramidal and white helleborine orchids as well as two species of broomrape. The area supports many anthills, which provide good feeding for green woodpeckers. 50 different kinds of bird have been seen at this reserve. A variety of insects and other invertebrates occur and there are more than 20 different kind of butterfly including green hairstreak and small blue.

Howell Hill is managed to maintain the range of habitats and to conserve the rich chalk flora. Management includes scrub clearance and control of invasive golden rod.

We graze the site during the autumn months with a small herd of Belted Galloway cattle, specialist conservation grazers owned by Surrey Wildlife Trust. They create a tussocky sward and don’t favour herbs such as Kidney vetch, as sheep do, so ensuring maximum floristic diversity is maintained on the site.

Species and habitats


Nearby nature reserves

Priest Hill
1 miles - Surrey Wildlife Trust
Fames Rough
3 miles - Surrey Wildlife Trust
Wilderness Island
4 miles - London Wildlife Trust

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Reserve information

Cheam Road
Map reference
TQ 238 618
Great for...
Best time to visit
May - Jul
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Opening Times
Open at all times
5.00 hectares
Walking information
Access from unmarked footpath near Cheam Road roundabout (A232)
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Tel: 01483 795440