Chairman’s Views

As many of you will have seen, we are now beginning to commence events, although we are of course complying with Government guidelines in relation to COVID 19.  In particular all events MUST be pre-booked through our website and we are limiting numbers to ensure that appropriate social distancing can be maintained.

It is with some sadness that I have to report that Anthony Wakefield has indicated that he can no longer continue as Chairman of the Newsletter Committee and that his firm will not be able to continue the excellent sponsorship that they have provided for several years.  I would like to record our thanks to Anthony and his firm for all the generous support that we have received, and I know that he is keen to continue to support the Society as an ongoing member.  We plan to continue with the E-newsletter format that has been developed over recent months, but we will also do two printed newsletters a year so if anybody knows someone who might be interested in providing sponsorship do please ask them to contact me.

Although we have been in Lockdown and we have had to cancel all our events, there has still been a lot to do over the last few months.  Not only are we now planning for the Autumn and fervently hoping that Government regulations enable us to enjoy the Countryside despite signs of further spikes, but we are also looking forward to next year and are hopeful that we can resurrect many of the events that had to be cancelled this year.

The Society has been involved in a couple of exciting projects.  We have recently helped Surrey Hills Arts with some essential maintenance work to Perspectives and the new Inspiring Views Project at Albury is under way.

Before Lockdown, work was done by Surrey Hills Arts with the Albury Estate to clear the view. This work has really lightened what was a dark tunnel of the North Downs Way, allowed light through to the forest floor and thereby created potential habitats for a more diverse wildlife. Chalk scrapes have been created and work is continuing with Butterfly Conservation to plant the scrapes to attract native butterflies and to keep the invasive roots down which will eventually see the return of grass meadowland.  During lockdown, the artist Will Nash was able to complete the framework of the Optohedron. This is now weathering beautifully and ready to install. Planning approval from Guildford Borough Council will hopefully be forthcoming in the near future.

Finally another work by Will Nash has been installed on Shalford Common – a swift tower to protect one of Britain’s most remarkable and endangered bird species.  The 10-metre-tall steel tower features 45 individually numbered nest boxes, which can accommodate 90 swifts and their chicks, to replace lost nesting sites in an area where swifts have nested for decades.



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