Surrey Wildlife Trust ranger spring update for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog

The entrances to the heathland off Red Road, and into Brentmoor Heath display a Spring update notice from Ben Habgood, the Surrey Wildlife Trust ranger for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog. He can be contacted at info@surreywt.org.uk

In Ben’s Spring update notice he mentions to be on the lookout for orchids, which he says can be seen from mid-May onwards. I walked on the track alongside Folly Bog yesterday and found no evidence of their arrival. But then I’m no botanist. I’ll make a trip down to Folly Bog and see I can spot signs of the Early Marsh Orchid.

I think nature is a bit late this year. Our large camellia has only recently ended its flowering. In the past it’s finished its flowering in January.  [Click on the image to expand].

Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog Ranger posts his Spring notes

The Surrey Wildlife Trust Ranger for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog – Ben Habgood [info@SurreyWT.org.uk] – has posted his Ranger’s notes for Spring 2017 on the kissing gates leading into Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog. Here they are below [click on image to enlarge],

Red Deer doing good work, munching on gorse at Chobham Ridges

Red Deer munching on gorse is exactly why they were introduced into the Bisley and Pirbright Ranges by Surrey Wildlife Trust.

The deer were next to the perimeter fence of the ranges on the path along Chobham Ridges, as I passed them on my walk from Lightwater to Deepcut.

One of the deer got very close to the fence, so close that I could smell him – and boy, what a pong. Here are a couple of photos and a short video of the deer chewing on the gorse. Pity video doesn’t yet have ‘smell-o-vision’.

A new walk didn’t last long – too jolly cold

Dog walkers, methinks, are more used to braving all weathers than me. Dogs need their exercise and to do their business.

Dog walkers were the only people I saw on Chobham Common yesterday. On parking in the Monument Car Park, I noticed there weren’t any dog do’s collection bins. Therefore, I decided to keep to the paths – not wanting to tread in the stuff.

Naturally, I walked up to The Victoria Monument, and studied it and it’s description board before heading off on a narrow track that ended near the railway line. I was secretly pleased that I couldn’t venture further in a straight line. Time to return to the warmth at home.

I will return there, as the walk affords splendid heathland views, and variety, as they say, is the spice of life. Here are my photos, which I know some of you like me to add.

Scrunching and munching on a grand scale

When Speedicus Triplicatum reported, in a comment, about the scale of scrub clearance in our local heathland, I had to see for myself what he describes as the result of scrunchy-munchy machines.

Wrapping up warm – I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many layers of clothing, so I’m not going to – I ventured out for a longish expedition to see the extent of the scrub clearance.

Speedicus is correct. The work is extensive. It pleasingly restores the views over heathland from the various heathland paths. No more walking through corridors of gorse and saplings. Click on images to enlarge.

Difficult choices face Surrey Wildlife Trust in funding shortfall

Scrub removal in Folly Bog

Once again, I’m informed by readers about a current issue – this time by Lightwater Retiree. Thank you.

The Guildford Dragon reports that Surrey Wildlife Trust [SWT], in seeking to address a funding shortfall, is looking to reduce staffing, as this statement by SWT in the Guildford Dragon states,

“In response to the reduction in Surrey County Council’s funding, SWT has been asked to find significant cost savings. The savings required can only be achieved through restructuring the countryside management team.”

“The proposal under consultation is to have six fewer roles. The final number of redundancies will depend on how many of the team want to apply for and are appointed to the new, different roles as well as other opportunities available within the Trust.”

Get Surrey report that all of the Surrey Wildlife Trust rangers are to be made redundant. Reading this Surrey Wildlife Trust working to be self-sufficient by 2021 as council reduce funding, in Get Surrey of January last year, describes the funding shortfall resulting from a new arrangement with Surrey County Council.

In the Trust’s 2016 annual report, it’s staffing, including a reduction of 4 through redundancy, is shown as 95,

swt-staffing-2016

If you’re keen to delve deeper into the arrangement between Surrey County Council and the Trust, it’s available to read HERE, just as the 2016 Annual Report of SWT.

I do find it curious that the report in Get Surrey is markedly more dramatic than that reported in the Guildford Dragon.

Accepting the challenge to discover more about the bowl barrows in Brentmoor Heath

My admiration is boundless to the vast, nay, I’d say, encyclopedic knowledge of the readers and commenters to this blog. Yet again Speeedicus triplicatum leads when he says in comment to THIS blog article,

I’ve never found much online about the 4 Barrows next to the Red Road …..

He continues to add this wonderful piece of history about the bowl barrow site,

… The [Surrey Wildlife Trust information board] by the barrows always makes me smile when it waxes lyrical about the ‘tool marks’ on a nearby Sarsen allegedly made by Bronze age masons … actually, the Stone was trundled down from the A322 Roundabout construction in the 1970s by a JCB with sharp teeth in its Bucket !

Couldn’t resist Speedicus’s implied challenge. After some time googling, here’s what I’ve discovered about the burial mounds,

  • The Chobham website has some information on burial mounds in our local area
  • The Makers of the Heath by Iain Wakeford has a cracking photo, though focus is on Woking, useful none the less
  • Surrey barrows 1934-1986: a reappraisal by Leslie Grinsell, who surveyed the barrows in 1932, is the authoritative source, though a somewhat dry academic description. [Note: Click on Accept to download the PDF file]. Oh, and his report says there are 12 such barrows in Surrey Heath. But where?  More work for me to do methinks.

Below are photos of [click to expand], of the barrows, the information board, the sarsen stone, an aerial photo from the 1930’s [my, how things have changed], and a contour survey 1930’s survey,