Our hopes for 2024

We are very much looking forward to 2024 and seeing how our various recent projects develop to make the reserves even richer for wildlife.

One of our biggest efforts was the planting of 150 trees of various species around the perimeter of Beacon Field. We held a tree planting event in November for National Tree Week which was well attended. Among the trees provided for free by Surrey County Council were about 30 sweet cherries and the same number of birches. They should look magnificent one day and maybe we will become as famous for cherry trees as Dormansland

We have also begun to create a wildflower meadow in the “triangle” in Jenners Field next to the skate park. At the moment it just looks like bare mud but if you look closely you will see hundreds of tiny seedlings sprouting. There are also individual plants of oxeye daisy, betony, devils bit scabious and ragged robin which have been translocated from our wonderful meadow in the Quiet Garden. This year will be one of establishment so do not expect to see many flowers. We will be mowing it regularly to encourage strong root growth.

Last year we did quite a lot of work in Coldharbour Copse where a number of trees were either pollarded or coppiced to create small glades within the woodland. These areas were sown with wild flower seed which has formed a green carpet on what was formerly bare ground under the shade of the trees. Expect to see drifts of foxgloves, red campion and greater birdsfoot trefoil in late Spring to add to the bluebells and primroses we have been seeding for many years. It is important to keep to the footpaths to avoid trampling these delicate plants.

One project which has made incredible progress is the new hedge in Bloomers field. It is now three years since it was planted and flowered and berried for the first time in 2023. 2024 promises to be even better as the trees have doubled in size and should be a riot of blossom. The hedge planting was designed specifically with birds and butterflies in mind. It contains two tree species which are butterfly food plants: alder buckthorn for brimstone and blackthorn for brown hairstreak. What is particularly satisfying is that we already know that brown hairstreaks are laying eggs on the hedge as we recently counted 20 eggs in this one 80 metre stretch. This is a high number and suggests a healthy and thriving population of this rare and hard to find butterfly.

You will have noticed that the area around the allotment and butterfly garden is not as dark as it was. This is because we have been progressively removing non-native and invasive evergreens such as laurel and rhododendron and coppicing some of the holly. The aim is to let in more light and create a bluebell wood with an understorey of hazel. This will be better for butterflies and other wildlife. The squirrels have already begun planting the hazels for us but hopefully we will be planting young trees next Winter to speed up the process. In June we will probably be holding a bluebell seed gathering event (with landowners permission) in a local wood for seeding this area. Feel free to come along.

We are very aware that development pressure threatens the long term future of the reserves and are determined to do what we can to ensure that they remain connected to the wider countryside and to encourage the creation of nature rich corridors locally. The Lingfield Nature Reserves Committee are the lead organisation in a farm cluster with the aim of restoring and creating connected wildlife rich habitats locally. We are called an Eden for Nature and recently applied to the DEFRA landscape recovery scheme. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful but remain committed to these aims and are currently seeking funding to allow us to prepare should we find further opportunities like the landscape recovery scheme in the future. Watch this space.

Related to this we know there is interest locally in having some of our road side verges and other public spaces managed for pollinators and wildflowers to form stepping stones for biodiversity across the village. The nature reserves are well placed to help with advice, native seed and wildflower plants having successfully created some remarkable wildflower areas in the nature reserves over the last 25 years. If you are interested in this idea and know a verge near you that you would like to see managed in this way please get in touch.





    © Lingfield Nature Reserves 2011-2020      All rights reserved

Top of Page