Conservation grazing update – Banstead Downs

A small flock of thirty sheep will be introduced to Pen 2 on Banstead Downs on Wednesday 10 January   The grazing enclosure is highlighted in yellow on the map below  Visitor access to the enclosure is not permitted at this time  We estimate the sheep will be grazing this section of grassland for a period of no longer than ten weeks before they will be moved to Pen 3, marked in red on the map below and the final grazing pen for this...

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Season’s greetings

Dear Supporter, As the year draws to a close, we'd like to write to say thank you for your support this year   Volunteers 2023 has been a memorable year for Banstead Commons Conservators  Earlier this year, we launched our new website and more recently introduced our volunteer task programme on the Commons  A small but dedicated team of volunteers has already joined us over the last couple of months and we hope that as the...

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White-letter day on Banstead Heath

On a bright and sunny day in November, the Conservators warmly welcomed Bill Downey to Banstead Heath in what was a modest but significant tree-planting event in Surrey Bill is the Species Champion for the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly at Surrey and SW London branch of Butterfly Conservation  In his role, Bill not only helps to survey for populations of the butterfly but also creates habitat for the species by planting its sole larval...

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The work of fairies!

On Friday 17 November, Gloucester the Dog, pictured above, hijacked our social media accounts and asked our followers to identify the mystical cluster of mushrooms he found on his walk   In response to those who followed the thread, we solve the mystery below and it has nothing to do with dancing fairies! Fairy Rings on Banstead Commons Many different mushrooms form so-called fairy rings Some of these rough circles can be made out...

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We will remember them

Banstead Commons Conservators hosted a Walk of Remembrance, led by Tim Richardson, on Banstead Heath on Friday 10 November Despite the weather, military historian, long-time local resident and armed forces veteran, Tim kept everybody fascinated with his expert knowledge of events over the last century or so, that have left their mark on the Commons and on those who live and work on and around them His entertaining anecdotes revealing the...

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Fantastic fungi

It's that time again Not just mists and mellow fruitfulness but fungi of all shapes and sizes are nearly everywhere you look in the countryside at the moment Contrary to most people's perception, fungi are all around us throughout the year, not just the microscopic ones on which most other organisms depend, but also some large and attractive fruiting bodies can be found if you know where to look For example, bracket fungi grow on trees all year,...

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Lonesome Ponds Upgrade

Over the last two years Preston and Tadworth residents and other users of the Burgh Heath woods could see close up the extensive reworking of the area around the Lonesome Ponds  Although we are now approaching winter it is worth while remembering the improvements carried out at the Lonesome Ponds located near the Chetwode Road entrance to Burgh Heath woods  And a reminder that spring and then summer are not too far away At the pond nearest...

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Grassland managment on Banstead Commons

The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the second world war  We are proud that Natural England have judged that the grassland areas on the Banstead Commons are in favourable condition  Our dedicated management has enabled rare and vulnerable chalk-loving plants and animals to return and flourish Approximately half of the 1350 acres of Banstead Commons is designated "priority" grassland  Two of our chalk downland sites –...

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We’re looking for helpers

Do you love nature on your doorstep Would you like to volunteer to help conserve Banstead Commons for future generations to enjoy and wildlife to thrive We are recruiting volunteers to join regular work parties that will be held on the four sites that make up Banstead Commons: Banstead Heath, Banstead Downs, Park Downs and Burgh Heath  Tasks will include invasive species control, scrub clearance, coppicing and litter...

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Oak Processionary Moth

Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) caterpillars are now active and can be seen on the trunk and branches of oak trees on Banstead Downs and Banstead Heath  The caterpillars feed and live exclusively on oak trees and defoliate the trees OPM caterpillars and their nests contain hairs that can cause itchy rashes, eye and throat irritations, and should not be touched under any circumstances at any time The greatest risk period is May to July when the...

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