This excellent walk was led by Mike Waite, Living Landscapes Officer at the Surrey Wildlife Trust. The weather was perfect for butterflies but Mike is hugely knowledgeable about all wildlife and gave us a real insight into the ecology of the area.
We saw several species of butterfly including the Common Blue, the Speckled Wood and the Red Admiral. We also heard about work of the Butterfly Conservation Trust and the Stepping Stones Project, which is designed to create chalk scrapes planted with kidney vetch, the sole food plant of the Small Blue butterfly. These scrapes have been created at strategic spots between Pewley Down in the West and Denbies Hillside in the East to encourage the colonies that exist in these two places to spread out across the North Downs.
Quite apart from the flora and fauna, we also heard about the history of the Netley Estate particularly during the First and Second World Wars and stood on one of a number of pillboxes that are built on the North Downs ridge to enjoy breathtaking views of Shere and the surrounding countryside beneath us.
Mike also introduced us to several species of Orchid. The Bee Orchid was a special find. This is a fine example of a highly evolved mutual relationship where the plant relys on floral mimicry by imitating the bee upon which it is dependent for pollination.
Gordon Jackson Chairman