The partnership with the Land Trust means we are now managing several SANGs (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) acquired by The Land Trust across Surrey.
Together we aim to transform low quality, often agricultural grassland into sites that provide improving habitats for wildlife and accessible nature areas for the local community – and help tackle the climate crisis.
SANG sites open
After months of preparation, including planting trees, seeding wildflowers and laying car parks, the first two SANGs are now under Trust management:
12 hectares near Milford
An area of meadow and wildflower grassland, newly planted woodland, hedgerows and scrub.
27 hectares in West Horsley
A large area of grassland, hedgerows and standing trees with a wildflower meadow.
Our initial management agreement with The Land Trust is for ten years, over which time we plan to create and enhance a mosaic of habitats on the various sites, including woodland, hedgerow and riparian (riverbank). We hope this will attract massive numbers of birds and pollinators and create a thriving and biodiverse natural landscape.
We want to provide sustainable green spaces that benefit people and wildlife over the long term and we are excited to see what these new SANGs are like in a few years’ time.
As they develop, these places will contribute significantly to the nature recovery network within Surrey. They will provide stepping stones to nearby sites, turn land with low habitat value into an important wildlife resource, and help us towards The Wildlife Trusts’ ‘30by30’ target – that at least 30% of our land and seashould be connected and protected for nature’s recovery by 2030.
The Land Trust partnership is a big part of the Trust's mission to encourage good conservation practice on the 96% of Surrey that we don’t manage. It is also about bringing nature to people.
Families and dogs
It’s great to see local people already using the sites. The car parks make it easy for families and friends to enjoy the fresh air and birdsong and, with waste bins on site, we also welcome responsible dog walkers.
Of course, transforming the land and its use involves a whole range of people and organisations, from the original landowner to nearby residents, from Natural England to the local authority, from conservation volunteers to the wildlife recording community. It’s a complicated and sometimes delicate process, but the potential rewards are huge.
Sense of ownership
It’s vital that people feel involved. These are potentially wonderful places for children and adults to learn about nature, get involved in volunteering, do citizen science projects and more. By including them at this early stage, we hope to capture their imagination and give them a real sense of ownership.
What is a SANG?
A Suitable Alternative NaturalGreenspace is a newly-created outdoor recreational space designed to take pressure off a Special Protection Area (SPA) – a site of international importance for its breeding or wintering birds. Development within a SANG is constrained to prevent damage to the SPA itself.