- Events at The Forest
Thu 15th Aug 13
Work Party : Bramble control
- Other Woodland reserves
Milford Green & Coxhill Green
Milton Heath & The Nower
Broadstreet & Backside Commons (inc. Rydes Hill Common)
Burners Heath & Swallows Pond
Fir Tree Copse
Graeme Hendrey Wood
Hill Park Estate
Vann Lake including Candy's Copse
- Search for Reserves
- Browse Reserves
- Find by Habitat
Find reserves with a certain habitat.
The Forest is a mixed woodland bought in 2002 with funds raised by a public appeal organised by the Horsley Countryside Preservation Society and is owned by the East Horsley Parish Council.
A survey of the area in 2002 recorded nearly 180 plant species including a large number of bluebells in the western part of the woodland.
Over 50 species of bird have been seen in, or hunting above, the woodland. This includes woodpeckers, nuthatches, treecreepers, tawny owls and sparrowhawks. Roe deer, foxes and bats can be seen here and you may even spot the diminutive muntjac. The Forest is particularly good for amphibians including the common toad and great crested newt, making it a regionally important site.
In Medieval times this woodland was known as ‘The Thornleys’, which relates to the blackthorn, hawthorn and other trees and shrubs that grew here. Thorn woods were important as sources of dead hedging, widely used on the open fields of the time.
On a map of 1793 the area is shown as being part of the open Horsley Common, suggesting the trees had been cleared. By 1816, the date of the first Ordnance Survey one inch map, it is once again shown as woodland. Despite this chequered history the site is included in the Surrey Inventory of Ancient Woodland.
Woodland like this used to be managed to supply large timber (standards) and smaller poles. The poles were produced by coppicing (cutting the trees close to the ground so that they grew lots of upright stems). Such management also allowed light to reach the woodland floor, which in turn encouraged flowers and a wide variety of other plants and wildlife.
Although there is evidence of forestry operation in the 1920s and later, this woodland has been neglected for a very long time. This means that although there are lots of fallen trees and dead wood - a rich habitat for fungi, insects and birds - it has become very thick and dark, discouraging flowers and species like butterflies.
Management plans include the reinstatement of coppicing in parts of the wood as well as creating open glades. This will increase the amount of light reaching the woodland floor and, in time, the number of plants and animal species found here.
Invasive, non-native species, like laurel and rhododendron, which suppress native plants and are a very poor wildlife habitat, will be cleared. Sycamore trees, which are also very invasive and of limited value to wildlife, will be thinned out.
Location: On the borders of East and West Horsley and Ockham. Bus no's 478 & 605 stop at Horsley station ½ mile away.
Parking is located off Drift Road, East Horsley.
Grid reference : TQ 095 552
Habitat : Woodland