The FOBH Autumn Newsletter is available and can be found by clicking here.
The Belties are back! Autumn has arrived on Box Hill and the cattle have returned to take over the grassland conservation work. Look out for them in the Zig Zag valley (14 of them) and Lower Viewpoint (just 6). Not that this means the Box Hill NT volunteers can now take it easy as there is still plenty of work to do. The Belties are just a little fussy over what they eat so the volunteers have been tasked with getting rid of the nasty prickly hawthorn and other scrub that the cattle won’t touch before they move into their new areas. Scrub clearance work has already been finished on the slopes above the old Military Road (bearing in mind that the objective is to thin it out not completely remove it) and work has started on Dukes. It’s all a balance between clearance and leaving enough for the invertebrates to have shelter over winter.
On two evenings this week a cinema screen will be erected on the Donkey Green and two films will be shown – “Finding Neverland” on Wednesday 9th September and “Four Weddings and a Funeral” on Thursday 10th September.
This is put on by Luna Cinema in conjunction with the British Film Institute and NT.
Entry is from 6pm, films start at 7.30pm. To book and for more information visit:
Have a look at this video produced by young people at the Box Hill Spring Activities week…
For those interested in how well we are doing in maintaining the chalk grassland of Box Hill, here is a technical note produced by Natural England which gives clear examples of how chalk grassland should (and shouldn’t!) look over the seasons. How do you think Box Hill compares?
Spring and early Summer means nesting birds so the volunteers conservation efforts are restricted. That doesn’t mean no work – far from it – as the work now focusses on lots of small scale scrub clearance where no birds are affected and general clearing up and maintenance. The volunteers have been busy across the hill, on Dukes, Lodge Hill, Lower Viewpoint, and last week on Juniper Top where we were joined by a very enthusiastic group of volunteers from RBI (Reed Business International).
It’s the time of year when the conservation work really shows results, with orchids appearing all over the hill and butterflies beginning to emerge. A walk last Sunday revealed Man orchids, Bee orchids, Common Spotted orchids, Fragrant orchids and more, with sightings of Marbled Whites and the very rare Small Blue. Keep a look out and let us know what you see.
What do you think about wildflower verges? Check out this BBC article.
Friends were out supporting National Trust this week as NT ran a variety of exciting activities for children. Our gazebo and mobile Discovery Zone provided lots of interest not just to children but also to lots of other visitors. The Dormouse Maze was a popular as ever and we had greater than normal participation in our Treasure Hunt (perhaps due to our new range of exciting presents that could be won!). We took a very reasonable amount of money through the Treasure Hunt, Book sales, and donations although as usual the biggest reward was the enjoyment of the many children who also learnt a little bit about the wildlife of Box Hill.
An unusual view of wildlife was on an oak tree in the main car park where amid all the noise and bustle of a very full car park a nuthatch calmly flew in and out of a hole in the tree feeding it’s young.
The FoBH Spring Newsletter is now available and can be viewed by clicking here!
Mickleham Downs has been the focus of conservation work in February. It started with contractors doing a lot of scub clearance on the Mickleham end of the Gallops, cutting regrowth which had appeared since the volunteers were last there a few years ago, then followed on with more volunteer work clearing dogwood and other scrub in the middle of the Gallops. The work then culminated with the annual Mickleham Downs Scrub Bash where a corporate group from RBI, staff from Juniper Hall, rangers from Reigate council, and many others joined the “regulars” to form a working party of over 70 volunteers. We cleared a very large amount of scub and encroaching trees from the Nower Wood end of the Gallops, keeping warm with an enormous bonfire (and from all the hard work of course). Keep a look out for our work when you walk on the Gallops – it should be very obvious.