Celebrating Surrey’s heathlands in the pink

Belted Galloway on Ash Ranges (c) Jon Hawkins

 

Join Surrey Wildlife Trust and Thames Basin Heaths Partnership (TBHP) in celebrating our wonderful heathlands from 24th-30th July.  Surrey’s heathlands are some of the finest remaining examples of lowland heath in the world, and this rarity becomes a blaze of pink and purple over the summer months as the heather reaches full bloom.

During Heath Week there is a full schedule of events, walks and talks to enable visitors to discover the wonderful worlds of species that live on them: the mysterious nightjar, glow worm, bee wolf, heath tiger beetle, emperor moth and many other wildlife.

Heath Week offers an opportunity to explore Chobham Common, Whitmoor Common, Wisley and Ockham Commons or Brentmoor Heath among others, while the heather is flushed pink in full bloom and buzzing with life. Try a self-guided walk and spot wildlife while exploring, enter the photography competition, visit Surrey Fire and Rescue for the wildfire roadshow or go on a scavenger hunt.

On Wednesday 28 July at 10am, James Herd, director of reserves management at Surrey Wildlife Trust, will be hosting a virtual coffee morning and talk on mysterious nightjars. The nocturnal nightjar migrates thousands of miles annually from sub-Saharan Africa to reach its breeding grounds right here on our Surrey heaths. At dusk they can be heard churring to help them find a mate to rear a clutch of chicks before the long journey back to Africa.

Charlotte Magowan, marketing and communications manager, said: ‘We are blessed in Surrey to have so many different heathlands across the county to explore. On a warm summer’s day in July and August heathlands are incredibly beautiful, with the sweet smell of heather and pine warmed by the sun, bees buzzing and insects humming.  They offer adventure and a place to get closer to nature. And at night, you are transported to the tropics with the magical churring and wing clapping of the nightjars as they catch their prey on the wing and display to females.’

Sarah Bunce, communications officer for TBHP, said: ‘The TBHP team love sharing the magic of heathland during Heath Week. So, if you’ve been taking your local heath for granted, please come along, we’d love the opportunity share a little bit of its magic with you!’

The annual Heath Week event is designed to encourage local people to explore and appreciate the county’s vast wilderness of heathland, which spans areas between Farnham and Godalming in the south of the county to Woking and Camberley, Chobham and Cobham in the north.  One of the most ancient and characteristic British landscapes, it has special conservation protection internationally, is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife and provides a living link to our stone age past.

For inspiration there are virtual guided heathland tours, species talks and heathland inspired crafts and activities online. For further information about Heath Week 2021 visit surreywildlifetrust.org.uk/heath-week, www.tbhpartnership.org.uk/heath-week or social media @surreywt #heathweek

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