This post is to draw the attention of the Surrey Wildlife Trust to an increasingly urgent conservation situation in the Eastern end of the county.
At first glance, the first photo shows an idyllic scene: a family out on their bikes enjoying the countryside. But this bit of countryside is in a Local Nature Reserve where cycling is prohibited and the cyclists have just ridden over the site of two rare plants, Cut-leaved Germander and Ground Pine.
This highlights the current plight of this entire field (Fames Rough in Chipstead) and neighbouring Coneyboro Hill, which have been known for their rich diversity of butterflies and plants. They are regularly surveyed on behalf of Butterfly Conservation by the WoodChip Conservation Volunteers, .
For some years these sites were managed to keep the scrub growth in check and a strip of Fames Rough was regularly rotavated to provide the right conditions for the rare plants (second photo).
Sadly, both these sites are now becoming overgrown with hawthorn and other scrub (third photo), to the point when vital habitat is being lost and it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out surveys. This situation has worsened over several years and predates the current lockdown.
I understand that these areas are now under the control of Surrey County Council and Surrey Wildlife Trust. Can anyone from either of these organisations tell me if any maintenance and ongoing management is planned to restore these vital areas of conservation?
Graham Kenward, Volunteer