As the year draws to a close, we’d like to write to say thank you for your support this year.
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 news spreads and friendships form more people will sign up in the New Year. We’ve hosted six corporate volunteer groups and the difference they’ve made removing woody scrub from a compartment of lowland heath habitat has been incredible – many hands make light work! Working together with the Downlands Partnership, we inducted a team of twenty-four volunteer livestock monitors who are assisting us with welfare checks on the livestock that are grazing the Commons this winter. We have loved receiving regular updates and photographs from them on WhatsApp groups.
The following on our social media pages continues to grow and regular posts help to connect people to the green spaces found on their doorstep. They promote community health and wellbeing by making sites accessible and people can learn more about the habitats and wildlife that can be found on the Commons. Special thankyous should be extended to our wildlife monitors for collecting valuable data and the visitors who kindly share their amazing photographs for our use so that we’re able to post regularly with exciting news for followers to enjoy. If you don’t already, please follow us on social media for regular news and events – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
We’d also like to use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the support given by the landowners, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and their Local Councillors and Officers who continue to support us both financially and practically. We wouldn’t be able to continue our work without the support of the local community and, whilst we can’t list everyone, we would also like to acknowledge the financial and/or practical support given by a few notable organisations: The Downlands Trust, Surrey Hills Society, Leatherhead Youth Project, Surrey County Council Countryside Team, London and South West Surrey Branch of Butterfly Conservation, Farming in Protected Landscapes, Newt Conservation Partnership and the fabulous local Resident Associations who kindly help with the promotion of our work through their newsletters and websites.
Next year promises to be just as great! We recently welcomed a new member of staff to the team, Lisa Taylor, who will be working part-time and helping Lucy with administration, grant applications and public engagement activities. Our recently published Site Management Plans will go to consultation in the New Year, allowing you to comment on our future management objectives before the plans are formally adopted at our April Quarterly Meeting. Our public engagement events are increasing thanks to the support of dedicated guided walk leaders who give their time and knowledge and Cllr. Rebecca Paul and Your Fund Surrey have committed to supporting the introduction of events for families on Banstead Commons in the summer. Places for our events are allocated on a first come first served basis so keep an eye on our website for the event details to be published in the New Year.
With vast landscapes containing rare and diverse habitats and an abundance of red-listed species recorded on our four sites, the Conservators are committed to ensuring the next generation grows up in a biodiverse landscape, with butterflies aplenty and their ears filled with bird song at all times of the year. We couldn’t achieve what we do without your support!
On behalf of the staff and Conservators at Banstead Commons, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!