Tomorrow 2nd May is Surrey Day, a chance to celebrate all the best things about our beautiful county, but this year it will be going ‘virtual’! Follow this link to find out what is going on: https://www.visitsurrey.com/whats-on/surrey-day Why not also take the opportunity to enjoy your daily exercise with a walk on our chalk downlands and see the splendid wildflowers and butterflies that are now emerging?
Connor from the Downlands Partnership led a most enjoyable walk yesterday for members of the Trust to look at the plants growing in the rapidly improving chalk grassland of Long Hill. The benefits of scrub clearance and grazing were apparent with early spring flowers such as violets and primroses already in evidence. Many thanks to Connor for sharing his knowledge of the site, Long Hill will certainly be worth another visit later in the summer.
Fidelity staff enjoyed a day clearing Blackthorn scrub at Hooley Meadows last week. The new growth will provide food for the caterpillars of the Brown Hairstreak butterfly and help to increase the numbers of this uncommon butterfly on the site.
Join Connor Harrison from the Downlands Partnership for a walk along Long Hill. This is an area of chalk grassland that is rapidly improving thanks to grazing and other conservation measures and we will see the various plants that grow here and also note the first signs of spring. All groups and families welcome.
The walk will begin at 10am starting outside St Paul's Church on Croft Rd CR3 7EN and returning at 11.30am. Donations to the Downlands Trust welcome.
Any queries, please phone 01883 341140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Today some of us joined David Warburton, Sutton’s Senior Biodiversity Officer, for a really informative tree walk organised by the Friends of Oaks Park. In spite of the losses suffered as a result of the Great Storm in 1987, Oaks Park boasts a wide variety of native and non-native trees and thanks to David we now know so much more about how to identify them.
A most enjoyable day spent at the Sutton Community Farm’s 2019 Harvest Festival sharing a stall with the Downlands Partnership. A great atmosphere, some excellent food on offer and some good contacts made. Many thanks again to Connor for transporting the equipment. We will be back.
And finally........new member DPH has sent us everything apart from their contact details, if you’re reading this, please get in touch!
This year we again shared a stall with the Downlands Partnership at the Carshalton Environmental Fair, as ever one of the best such events in the area. Record breaking bank holiday temperatures meant a high attendance and ample opportunities to explain our role to the public and to network with other stall holders. Plenty of our leaflets were taken away and hopefully will result in some new members for the Trust.
Enjoyed a great walk round Manor Park, Caterham last Sunday led by Sean and Connor from the Downlands Partnership. There was plenty of information about the history, ecology and management of the site and we were shown a good selection of chalk grassland plants. Looking forward to another visit in early summer next year to see the orchids in bloom.
In the week that London was declared a National Park City, we were delighted that London's third National Nature Reserve (NNR), the South London Downs National Nature Reserve was created on our doorstep.
This is a 417-hectare site along the border of Croydon and Surrey with stunning views across south London that connects areas that will benefit wildlife and people. The area includes land owned by the London Borough of Croydon and City of London and comprises Happy Valley, Farthing Downs, Riddlesdown, Hawkhirst, Kenley Common and Coulsdon Common.
The Trust was pleased to share a stall with the Downlands Project at the launch on 25th July. The Project are involved in practical conservation work, including grazing, on parts of the NNR.
The photo shows (left to right) Emma, a stock checker for the Project, Helen Cocker Operations Manager of the Surrey Countryside Partnerships Team, Dominic North, Countryside Warden at Happy Valley, Connor Harrison, Assisting Grazing Officer of the Downlands Project and Pamela Mascall, Trustee of the Downlands Trust,
An enjoyable day spent at the Chipstead Village Flower Show and Fair yesterday. After a rather uncertain start the weather became warm and sunny and the crowds soon followed. There was plenty of interest in the Trust and its work that hopefully will result in some new members. Thanks again to Connor who helped us to set up and take down the gazebo.
It is with great pleasure that we announce that Roger Findlay, our Treasurer and longest serving Trustee, has received a Mayor’s Volunteer Award from the Mayor of Reigate and Banstead. The Mayor’s theme this year is ‘Working together for our great community’ and the judging panel were delighted to be able to recognise the work of local volunteers. Roger will be presented with his award at a ceremony on 19th July. He was a founder member of the Downlands Trust charity and before that he led on setting up Friends of Downlands around 2003. We are all extremely grateful for his hard work and dedication and are very pleased that this has been recognized. Many thanks to the Downlands Partnership for nominating Roger for this award.
So grateful to Fidelity who have organized the Kingswood Softball competition in support of the Downlands Trust. Their enthusiastic staff gave up their lunchtime this Tuesday to play and they donated generously to the Trust. Noreen was there to watch and was also able to admire their wild flower patch!
The Downlands Trust and the Downlands Partnership shared a stall today at Old Coulsdon Village Fair, held in Grange Park. There was much interest in what we do and we were delighted to receive a visit from the Mayor of Croydon and his wife. Many thanks to Connor for demonstrating the finer points of erecting and taking down our new gazebo!
Noreen and Barbara were at Fidelity today as judges at the Bake Off event organized by the Young Leaders of Fidelity staff. There were three Fidelity sponsored charities present for whom the Fidelity staff baked several cakes to be judged. The Trust’s table had 4 cakes and Tony Ryan’s was the winner. The other two charities had their own tables and also judged the cakes made by Fidelity staff. A tough job, but someone has to do it! After the event, slices were sold off in Fidelity’s offices in aid of the three charities.
Last week was Small Charity Week which celebrates and raises awareness of the essential work of the UK’s small charity sector. The week is organised as a series of activities and initiatives and we were delighted that a large group of volunteers from Fidelity International, our corporate sponsor, was helping the Downlands Partnership on 17th June at Addington Hills. The task was to clear a large area of invasive birch scrub in order to help maintain and restore what is probably London’s largest area of natural heathland. The day was a great success in terms of what was achieved and the Fidelity team obviously enjoyed the occasion immensely!
On June 15th David Warburton, Sutton Council’s Biodiversity Officer, led a walk in Oaks Parks for a group of over 20, comprising members of the Downlands Trust, Friends of Oaks Park and of the Banstead U3A Wildlife Group. David gave us the benefit of his many years of experience of the high quality chalk grassland found in Oaks Park, its geology, flora and fauna, and the conservation work needed to keep it in top condition. The police also joined the meeting to raise awareness of the need to control dogs when livestock are present. Many thanks to Sean and Connor for organizing this enjoyable event, we look forward to a suggested tree identification walk here in the autumn
Today the Downlands Partnership held an open day at Old Lodge Farm as part of Open Farm Sunday and Sarah and Peter were there to explain to the role of the Trust to visitors. A really enjoyable event with an opportunity to meet the sheep and lambs, watch a demonstration of sheep shearing, see their wool being spun and look at Sean’s splendid collection of chalk grassland plants.
The Downlands Trust and the Downlands Partnership shared a stall at last Saturday’s Green Spaces Open Day in Croydon. Twenty groups were represented and as well as attracting a good deal of interest ourselves, the occasion provided some excellent networking opportunities. We will certainly return if the event is repeated next year!
Today some of the trustees enjoyed a morning at Old Lodge Farm, the Downlands Partnership’s farm, looking at this season’s new arrivals. Over 70 lambs have been safely born and were in fine spirits in the very welcome sunshine. We also took the opportunity to meet the pygmy goat and some of the Sussex cattle. Many thanks to Sean, Connor and Jeremy for the invitation and for showing us around.