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Shere Woodlands

Large_shere_woodlands_lShere Woodlands by Leo Jennings

This area, which is designated as a SSSI, includes West Hanger, Combe Bottom and Netley Plantation.

These reserves are situated on the scarp slope of the North Downs overlooking Shere and as such the area contains many steep gradients.

Most of these areas are heavily wooded with secondary woodland and conifer plantations. However all these reserves contain small pockets of remnant chalk grassland.

The storms of 1987 had a huge impact upon these reserves and in many areas the fallen timber still lies where it fell.

The areas once formed part of the Bray Estate of Shere and were used to produce timber for the Estate and for the Gomshall Tannery. In addition, stock were grazed upon the hillside in large fields of which only small pockets now exist.

West Hanger, Combe Bottom and Netley contain some interesting archaeological features in the shape of Neolithic flint quarries.

Also of note are the relics of World War 2. The area was of great strategic importance during the early part of the War as the North Downs was used as an important line of defence in the face of a German invasion.

The many surviving 'pill boxes' in the area and their overlapping fields of fire attest to this.

During late 1943 the area was billeted with thousands of Canadian troops as the allies prepared for the Normandy landings in June 1944.

The woodlands adjacent to Francis Corner contain many concrete roads, water tanks and the brick footings of military buildings which were used by the Canadian forces.

Many of the larger manor houses off the A246, such as Hatchlands, West Horsley Place and Clandon House, were commandeered for the officers and staff.

Following the war, the area was afforested with conifer plantations.

There are excellent views from West Hanger across the Weald and Greensand Ridge towards the Devil's Punch Bowl and South Downs.

Parking at West Hanger car park, Staple Lane, East Clandon.

Ranger Notes, Spring 2014

Size of Site : 43.87 ha / 108.41 acres
Designation : SSSI and LNR
Grid reference : TQ 069 489
Habitat : Woodland
Surrey County Council Walking Boots Advised Suitable for children

Related news

The rare lemon or slender slug Malacolimax tenellus has been discovered at West Hanger.
Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) is to return a flock of around a dozen Mule–cross sheep to graze a 3 hectare enclosure of chalk grassland restoration on West Hanger
A band of energetic volunteers and some rather hungry sheep will soon be springing into action to help Surrey Wildlife Trust with its restoration of rare chalk grassland at West Hanger, part of...