Exploring Hankley Common and the Atlantic Wall

Sunday 3 April 2022

Four Dachshunds and and a selection of bipeds completed the walk through the sandy pine heathland of Hankley common where we encountered the Atlantic wall. Happily no injury was sustained on the army training ground but sadly no sign of James Bond.  Here are a few photographs taken during the walk.


 Thanks to Heather Aitken and Chris Howard for the photographs.

Allianz Tree Planting Day in Cranleigh Celebrates Surrey Hills Sustainability

On Friday 25th February, Surrey Hills Society helped to deliver the first Surrey Hills Corporate Champions event, alongside its sister organisation and organiser of the event, Surrey Hills Enterprises.

The Allianz Tree Planting Day, saw over 100 Allianz staff come together to plant 1,000 native woodland trees at Knowle Park, in Cranleigh. This was part of recognising insurance company, Allianz’s efforts to reduce their paper use as a business.

Surrey Hills Society was involved in sourcing the native trees and biodegradable protection and led the planting on the day. Species planted included English Oak, Hawthorn, Field Maple, and Sweet Chestnut and will make up the ‘Allianz Copse’ for future generations and visitors to the park to enjoy.

Read more here.


Surrey Hills & Queens Green Canopy

Surrey Hills thanks the hundreds of community volunteers planting 13,500 trees for the Queen’s Green Canopy in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

This winter, Surrey Hills Society have worked with 300 volunteers from a diverse range of communities to support the planting of over 2km of native hedgerow and 1000 woodland trees in the Surrey Hills. This engages with the unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which is inviting people to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee” in aid of The Queen’s Green Canopy. This 2km of hedgerow forms part of the 7.5km being planted in the Surrey Hills through collaborative land manager groups funding by the Surrey Hills Farming in Protected Landscapes fund (FiPL). The trees that have been planted are a mixture of native species including hawthorn, field maple and hazel which create essential wildlife corridors and habitat for a wide variety of species such as the hazel dormouse, brown hairstreak butterfly and turtle dove.

Gordon Jackson, Chair of Surrey Hills Society and Surrey Hills Trust Fund comments;

“Thank you to all those who have given up their time to be involved in our tree planting efforts. Surrey Hills Society have engaged with members of the community, secondary school students, corporate staff teams and members of the Surrey Choices Growth Team, who all have the common aim of wanting to contribute positively to the environment. It has been wonderful to witness the enjoyment of volunteers, in learning more about both the environment and each other, as well as experiencing the benefit of being outside.”

The Surrey Choices Growth Team in partnership with Surrey Hills Society are funded by FiPL to work one day a week at Newlands Corner, helping to manage access for people and improve habitat for nature as part of the Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers programme. In February, the Surrey Hills was delighted to host The Rt Hon Lord Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Rural Affairs, Access to Nature and Biosecurity) who visited the Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers to view the excellent progress that they have made with removing invasive scrub from the chalk grassland, a habitat which is internationally important for its rarity and species richness.                                                                                                                                      The Rt Hon Lord Benyon with the Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers from Surrey Choices Growth team and Surrey Hills Society

The Rt Hon Lord Benyon with the Surrey Hills Conservation Volunteers from Surrey Choices Growth team and Surrey Hills Society 

Over the last few months, a huge variety of volunteer days have taken place in the Surrey Hills. This includes the first Surrey Hills Corporate Champions tree planting day with Allianz Insurance, a partnership between Surrey Hills Enterprises and Surrey Hills Society. The Allianz Tree Planting Day was held on Friday 25 February at Knowle Park in Cranleigh and saw 1,000 trees and shrubs planted.

Allianz staff volunteering at Knowle Park, Cranleigh with Surrey Hills Enterprises and Surrey Hills Society


The Lord Lieutenant of Surrey at Knowle Park, Cranleigh with Surrey Hills Enterprises and Surrey Hills Society

These essential efforts to help support biodiversity and conservation could not be possible without the engagement from farmers, landowners and volunteers. Angus Stovold of Lydling Farm, comments on the fantastic community work that has been undertaken to help plant trees on the farm;

“I knew the local community was interested in our conservation work but we were blown away by the enthusiasm and help they gave willingly. It has made our decisions to continue at a pace much easier to fully integrate our farming with nature recovery”.

The support of local Members of Parliament (MPs) has also been invaluable. On Friday 11 March, which was National Tree Planting Day, a group of Surrey MPs attended Lydling Farm, Shackleford to play their part in planting a Plane Tree that was donated by a local resident.

Angela Richardson, Member of Parliament for Guildford comments;

“I was delighted to be invited to Lydling Farm in the Surrey Hills to participate in some tree planting in aid of The Queen’s Green Canopy. The astonishing efforts made by the Surrey Hills, farmers, landowners and their community volunteers will create a legacy of essential habitat for rare and vulnerable species for years to come.”

Jonathan Lord MP for Woking, Gordon Jackson Chair of the Surrey Hills Society, Angela Richardson MP for Guildford and Angus Stovold of Lydling Farm

Hedgerow planting – Connecting people and nature across the Surrey Hills


Over the last few weeks, Surrey Hills Society has engaged with over 200 volunteers at a range of locations across the AONB.

Working in partnership with landowners and farmers, the Society has been coordinating volunteers to assist with the planting of native hedgerow and trees, to increase connectivity and habitat in the Surrey Hills.

The Society has engaged with members of the community, secondary school students, corporate staff teams and members of the Surrey Choices Growth Team, who all have the common aim of wanting to contribute positively to the environment. It has been wonderful to witness the enjoyment of volunteers, in learning more about both the environment and each other, as well as experiencing the benefit of being outside.


So far, this incredible volunteer workforce has helped to plant approximately 1.5km of native hedgerow, which will help to benefit both people and nature in years to come. By the end of the planting season, in March, the Society hopes to extend this by a further 1km.

The Society is currently developing Spring and Summer volunteering and community engagement opportunities, so please keep your eyes peeled for more details and please get in touch if you would like further information.

Many thanks

Christa Emmett
Project and Volunteer Coordinator
Surrey Hills Society

Surrey Hills Society starts off 2022 with a free walk around Farnham


On a sunny Sunday 9th January 37 members of the Society joined us to explore the wonderful, historic market town of Farnham.

Known as a popular Georgian market town in the far west of the Surrey Hills AONB, it actually has a history stretching back to the Stone Age.



If you look closely many of the Georgian frontages are merely facades to much older properties that were gentrified during this prosperous time.



The town continues to thrive with an active Town Council that supports it award winning Farnham in Bloom and variety of festivals, often in partnership with The Maltings – the town’s cultural centre. There is also a surprising number of independent shops, cafes and restaurants that all add to the vibrancy of the place.


The town is also home to the University of the Creative Arts which works with Surrey Hills Arts each year to install students work on the Farnham heathland near Tilford. Art work is spotted all over the town and gives the place a real vibe.

Many of our members today had never been to Farnham, and all said they would definitely be coming back for a more detailed look around in the near future.



Today’s walk was led by our President, Chris Howard and Vice President Ken Bare with assistance from Jeff Holliday, Gordon Jackson and Sall Baring.


Walk off your Christmas Pudding

On Monday morning Peter and Jean led everyone on our post Christmas walk, this year in a different location – Headley Heath near Epsom.  One of our members, Ray Jessop, has kindly offered to share some of the photos that he took during the walk.  It was a very enjoyable walk and one person on our walk said “It was interesting to visit different parts of the Heath that we do not normally see. It’s a very varied and interesting landscape and I must come back in clearer weather for the views”.





                                             Thank you Ray.

Christmas Wreath making


I joined a bunch of like-minded people at Wonersh Memorial Hall on a bright Saturday afternoon in the knowledge that this event would get me into the festive spirit.

There were around 20 of us and we all set off with baskets and bags and secateurs for a short but enjoyable walk around Wonersh taking in the view of an Edward Lutyens designed property and the house where the drawing of Christopher Robin dragging Winnie the Pooh down the stairs was drawn.


Around half of the attendees were not members of the Society and some had come a long distance to join us, one even coming from London who said that she really loved the walk, getting out in the fresh air and the beautiful Surrey Hills rather than having everything supplied to her.

We collected a number of different foliage for our wreaths and then returned to the hall.

We were provided with a demonstration of ideas together with a large variety of decorations, more foliage and straw circles which formed the basis of our wreaths.

There was Christmas music playing and we were served a huge variety of drinks with mince pies and biscuits. We were helped along with any assistance that was required and the atmosphere was really lovely and very Christmassy.

It was great to see all the different finished products even though we had access to the same foliage and decorations, each wreath was very individual.



I certainly am very happy with my wreath which is sitting proudly on my front door welcoming one and all during this festive time. I will definitely be spending two and a half hours collecting and making my own wreath next year.


















Roll on Christmas Day.

Sall Baring

Belmont School Pre-Christmas Walk to Holmbury Hill Fort

Society members enjoyed the annual visit to Belmont School and pre-Christmas walk on Saturday 4th December. Belmont is housed in a magnificent Arts and Crafts house designed by architect George T Redmayne in 1877, for Edwin Waterhouse one of the founders of the firm Price Waterhouse Co, in London. The house contains an original William Morris (1834 –1896) tapestry and William De Morgan (1839-1917) tiles. (They are two of the most famous designers of from the Arts and Crafts Movement).

Holmbury Hill is a pleasant (if steep) walk from the school grounds up through the village of Holmbury St Mary. This village is supposed to be the influence for local author, Edward Morgan Forster’s book, “A Room with a View”. The summit of the Holmbury Hill is the site of an ancient hill fort. At 856ft above sea level it is one of the highest points in the south of England and appears to have been a fort since at least 100BC.

After our compulsory annual photograph at the summit, the group returned to the school to meet the long serving Headmistress, Mrs Helen Skrine and learn more about the history of the house and the school (originally a prep school but now being a weekly boarding school for the up to 16 year olds). For more details click here.

President of the Society, Chris Howard said, “I love returning to Belmont School each year on the first Saturday in December. It kick starts the festive season with a bracing walk to a stunning viewpoint in the Surrey Hills and then mulled wine in the gorgeous galleried front entrance hall of Belmont School.”

Chris Howard