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Latest news from the Surrey Hills

Welcome to the e-newsletter for the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Please cascade this e-newsletter to interested parties. For further information on the Surrey Hills visit surreyhills.org

Government Review of National Parks & AONBS

Report due in 2019

In February, Government published its long awaited 25 Year Environment Plan to enhance beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment. One key commitment was to set up a commission to review the purpose of AONBs and National Parks. Environment Secretary Michael Gove comments: “The creation of National Parks almost 70 years ago changed the way we view our precious landscapes – helping us all access and enjoy our natural world. Amid a growing population, changes in technology, and a decline in certain habitats, the time is right for us to look afresh at these landscapes. We want to make sure they are not only conserved, but enhanced for the next generation”.
Click here to read more

Celebrating 60 years as an AONB

Speaker’s House Reception 8 May

The 8th May was the official date for celebrating 60 years since the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was designated. Hosted by The Rt Hon John Bercow MP in the State Rooms at Speaker’s House, guests included Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Minister for National Parks, Michael More-Molyneux, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and the Kier Group, who sponsored the reception.

Lord Gardiner, Defra Minister for National Parks, said: “The Surrey Hills was one of the first landscapes in England to be protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With its spectacular views, beautiful villages and extensive woodlands, this landscape is a true testament to the vision of conservation and environmental enhancement that underpins our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

Click here to read more about the event

10 years of the Surrey Hills Society

Reception at Loseley Park

The Surrey Hills Society organised a celebration event at Loseley Park on 21st June to mark 10 years of the Society and 60 years since the AONB designation. Hosted by Michael More-Molyneux, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey with Patron of the Surrey Hills, Dame Penelope Keith, the evening was attended by over 130 guests. The event provided an excellent showcase for all the work happening in the Surrey Hills.

Click here to view photos from the event

Future of Farming

Surrey’s Rural Economy Conference

Surrey Hills Enterprises gathered key figures from across Surrey in May for Surrey’s Rural Economy Conference. The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, gave the Key note speech emphasising with great passion and commitment the importance of the environment and the need to focus on building a rural economy based on quality local products that reflect the special nature of Surrey’s countryside.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove comments: “We are continuing to see the rural British economy go from strength to strength, with food and drink exports soaring, farm incomes increasing and rural enterprises thriving.”

Click here to view the conference video

Launch of The Trademark Surrey Hills

Celebrating local business

Surrey Hills Enterprises have launched the Trade Mark Surrey Hills to celebrate those businesses of high quality that are stimulating the rural economy but are also reflecting the distinct and special nature of the local environment.

Nine of Surrey’s outstanding businesses that meet the Trade Mark Surrey Hills criteria were awarded Certificates by the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who congratulated each on their outstanding businesses and the contribution that they are making.

Find out more about The Trademark Surrey Hills

Cycle Surrey Hills

Jeremy Hunt MP launches project

The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP launched a new network of over 80km of off-road cycling trails in South West Surrey in June. Funded by a grant of £19,000 from the London Marathon Charitable Trust (LMCT), the aim of the project ‘Cycle Surrey Hills’ is to encourage residents and visitors to get active, improve fitness and experience the spectacular scenery of the Surrey Hills AONB. There are five interlinking routes giving cyclists the opportunity to choose either a long distance ride or shorter loops.The new trails are the first phase in what is hoped will become an extensive network spreading out across the entire Surrey Hills.

Download the new leaflet here

Watch our video from the launch event

Removing unnecessary signage

Campaign to de-clutter the Surrey Hills

A new campaign was launched in April by Colin Kemp, Lead Cabinet Member for Place, and Jason Russell, Executive Director for Highways, Transport & Environment. The campaign will work with parish councils in Surrey Hills villages to identify and remove unnecessary metal highway signs that spoil the natural environment.

A workshop on managing traffic and HGVs on our country lanes and villages was well attended with over 60 participants.

Discover more about the De-Clutter campaign

Horseman’s Sunday

Celebrating horse riding in the Surrey Hills

A Horseman‟s Sunday event to celebrate horse riding in the Surrey Hills took place at St Martha’s Church in April as part of the Surrey Hills 60th Anniversary celebrations. The sun shone and the riders flocked to the picturesque church on the hill for a truly unique event. Horses and riders set off from destinations across the Surrey Hills for the equestrian service and opportunity for horses to be blessed and receive a commemorative rosette.

Read more about the event here

Small Blue Butterfly Project

Volunteers needed

Butterfly Conservation’s Surrey Small Blue project has been undertaking extensive habitat improvement works across the North Downs between Guildford & Betchworth. This project, supported by the Surrey Hills Trust Fund aims to help struggling populations of threatened butterflies, including the Small Blue, Adonis Blue, Silver Spotted Skipper and Grizzled Skipper.

The project is keen to hear from any landowners or residents on chalky soils in the North Downs who could assist by growing kidney vetch, as this is the sole food plant for the small blue butterfly. If you would like to volunteer for this project contact Fiona Haynes fhaynes@butterfly-conservation.org

North Downs Way National Trail

Views, Vistas & Vineyards of the Surrey Hills

The National Trail network has successfully bid for a multi-million Discover England grant. The target is the Northern European and North American walking market. The individual trails are putting forward various packages including “The Valleys and Vineyards of the Surrey Hills”. The North Downs Way is also involved with EU partners on a Green Pilgrimage project. Chris Howard, Chair of the Surrey Hills Society and the North Downs National Trail Officer, Pete Morris have recently been on a study tour to Spain to look at how to improve the NDW experience.


Community Rail Partnership

New information boards along North Downs line
The Surrey Hills Board is working with the North Downs Community Rail Partnership, which includes Great Western Railway, the North Downs National Trail, parish councils and local organisations. Funding has been secured through the North Downs Way National Trail to provide information boards at six stations along the North Downs line which will include waymarking to the North Downs National Trail. The Partnership is chaired by Mike Goodman, Surrey Hills Board Member and Surrey Cabinet Member for the Environment and Transport.

2018 Travel Campaign

Working with rail & bus operators

Vintage style travel posters have been created for a travel campaign with rail and bus operators, encouraging visitors to come to the Surrey Hills for a day out via public transport. The campaign focuses on 6 iconic sites in the Surrey Hills with ideas for walks and refreshment stops. Look out for our posters this summer at South Western Railway, Great Western Railway and Southern Railway stations. Bus companies have also embraced the campaign and Metrobus have vinyl wrapped two double-deckers with the artwork.


Surrey Hills Limited Edition Prints

Vintage style prints proving popular

To celebrate 60 years of the Surrey Hills AONB  6 limited edition prints have been created by local artist Louise Dunckley of Illustrations & Prints. Each vintage styled print captures a unique view of the Surrey Hills and £5 from each purchase will be donated to the Surrey Hills Trust Fund.

Click here to order your print

Raising awareness

Thanks to our media partner Surrey Life

Surrey Life Magazine produced a stunning Surrey Hills themed edition in May helping us to raise awareness of the 60th anniversary of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Articles were featured on the history of the Surrey Hills, ‘people of the Surrey Hills’, interview with artist Louise Dunckley who created the limited edition prints and more. Two collectable front cover’s featured the Leith Hill and Reigate Hill limited edition prints.

Discover more about Surrey Life Magazine

Surrey Hills Book launched

‘The Surrey Hills – Our Changing Landscape’

Ken Bare, Vice Chairman of the Surrey Hills Society, has written a book recording the history of the Surrey Hills AONB designation. Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, ‘The Surrey Hills – Our Changing Landscape’ was officially launched on 8 May 2018 at Speaker’s House to mark the 60th anniversary of the AONB. Ken undertook a vast amount of research for the publication interviewing farmers, foresters, landowners, planners and more.  A key message that came back from all of them was that the designation is very important – and that the work of the Society is pivotal in helping the general public to understand more about their wonderful Surrey Hills.

Surrey Unearthed

An artistic exploration of the Surrey Hills

Surrey Unearthed is an Arts Council England funded programme of ten linked projects exploring the natural materials beneath our feet through sculpture, installation, film, and writing. The innovative programme of ten projects will run throughout 2018-19. A whole host of exciting events are running throughout the programme click here to see what’s on. An exhibition showing the research and development of the Surrey Unearthed projects featuring maquette, sculpture, film and drawings is running at Leith Hill Place from 6-22 July.

Discover more at www.surreyunearthed.org

Heathland Artworks

Exhibition on Farnham Heath until 28 October

Twelve temporary works have been made by local emerging artists studying Craft, Product Design and Textiles at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham as part of a project called Heathland Artworks.

All of the artworks are inspired by the heath and its wildlife and can be found amongst the trees and at the breathtaking viewpoints. Discover interactive kaleidoscopes, ceramic wheels displaying the native birds, printed woven textiles and more… Peer through some giant kaleidoscopes to create patterns of the natural materials from the heath, and rotate the ceramic wheels that bear the birds, reptiles and insects that live there.

Heathland Artworks is a Surrey Hills Arts project running from June 21st – 28th October and is free of charge.

Discover more about Heathland Artworks

Surrey Hills Trust Fund Donor Event

Inspiring Views Reception

A Surrey Hills Trust Fund donor event took place on the Alderbrook Estate in June to look at the future of extending the successful Inspiring Views project. Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery, profiled Physical Energy, the new bronze sculpture – which was commissioned last year to mark the bicentenary of the birth of G F Watts. Physical Energy will create a new landmark for Surrey and could link out to the Inspiring Views sculptures  across the Surrey Hills. Also at the event was the Leatherhead Youth Project who gave an overview of their work and the importance of engaging young people with the Surrey Hills.

Click here to find out more about the Fund.

Surrey Hills Festival of Sports

Profiling sport in the Surrey Hills

The Surrey Hills Challenge, organised by the Rutland Group returns on 23 Sept. Five events take place across the Surrey Hills helping to raise funds for the Surrey Hills Trust Fund in partnership with the Community Foundation for Surrey.

A new addition this year is the Surrey Hills Festival of Sport which takes place at Denbies Wine Estate from 09:00 – 19:00. The Festival is set to showcase and demonstrate the different types of activities people of all ages and fitness abilities can get involved with. From walking and running to horse riding and cycling, as well as showing how the area is accessible for all.

© Surrey Hills 2018