Welcome to the Surrey Hills Family Annual Review 2015.

The AONB Management Plan

Family Delivery Plan being implemented

A Surrey Hills family delivery strategy has been developed from the Management Plan to focus the work of the family (Board, Enterprises, Society and Trust Fund) as a way to diversify the funding and resource base in implementing the Management Plan. Click here to view the family delivery plan.

Protected Landscapes Working Together

Joint accord, publication, Conference & AGM

The National Association for AONBs (NAAONB) and National Parks England (NPE) signed an Accord at the end of November which builds on and strengthens the significant joint working and collaboration that already exists at national and local level. Click here to view the Accord.

Rory Stewart MP, Under Secretary of State, Defra commented:“Our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks are vital to rural life. They protect and care for some of our most cherished landscapes. I am delighted that these two organisations will now be working even more closely together.”

A joint publication 'So much more than the view' was published in July to raise awareness of England's protected landscapes and the £20bn they contribute to the economy.

The NAAONB's Landscapes for Life conference took place in July with the theme of Sharing, Learning and Inspiring. Three days of presentations, discussion, networking and site visits helped to highlight the examples of outstanding work from AONB Partnerships.

The AONB Board Chairman, David Wright OBE, spoke at the National Association of AONBs AGM in Westminster in November to showcase the work of the Surrey Hills family. Click here to find out more about Landscapes for Life.

International Collaboration

Building partnerships

The AONB Board welcomed visitors from the German Hesse region to their meeting in January 2015. The purpose of the visit was to hear about the pressures on landscapes in areas around metropolitan centres and how these could be addressed through the planning systems.

The Surrey Hills Enterprises LOCAL WOOD HUB project, a cross-border partnership relating to the forestry and wood product sectors in West Central Brittany and Surrey concluded this year. The aim of the project was to stimulate and increase the sustainable development of local woodland industries and increase the value of local wood and its by-products through developing a more effective supply chain. Click here to find out more.

The AONB Director alongside Surrey County Council's Strategy & Commissioning Manager for Europe, Vincent O'Connell hosted a visit from two German representatives in August to look at the prospect of a Creative Europe Collaboration.


Annual report

Clive Smith (pictured) has continued to provide a high level of planning advice on policy and development proposals in 2015. His annual Planning Report sets out the national and emerging local planning policy context affecting the Surrey Hills AONB and the main risks of future development on the AONB.  It also covers the latest Local Plan positions of constituent Surrey Hills planning authorities and includes the Adviser’s work in responding to local authority consultations on planning applications. Click here to read Clive's planning report.

Undergrounding Power Lines

Restoring views in the Surrey Hills

In June this year, electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, permanently rerouted 1.4 miles of overhead power lines underground at Painshill Farm, Dunsfold, to improve views in the Surrey Hills.

In October the last of the unsightly metal power pylons, which towered over Thursley National Nature Reserve (NNR) since the 1960’s, were removed. This two year-long project involved Natural England, the Surrey Hills AONB Board and Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD). Eleven pylons and 22 wooden electricity poles were removed, with more than three kilometres of overhead power lines replaced by underground circuits. Click here to find out more.

Frontline Surrey Hills HLF Project

Commemoration event a great success

This Heritage Lottery funded project, which focused on the military heritage around Reigate Hill, concluded at a commemoration event on 19 March 2015 to mark the 70th Anniversary of the B17 bomber, the ‘Flying Fortress’, which crashed into Reigate Hill with the loss of life of 9 American air force men. The event was attended by over 100 people, including relatives and representatives of the airmen, a representative from the US Air Attache’s office and our civic local and county dignitaries. A memorial made of oak, taking the form of the wingtips of the plane, was unveiled during the service on Reigate Hill, we plan to develop this into a larger project in 2016. Click here to find out more about the project.

Tillingbourne Tales HLF Project

Off to a flying start

£92,200 of funding was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in May to reveal the industrial heritage of the Tillingbourne Valley. Dr Anne Sassin was contracted by the Surrey Hills Society as the Project Coordinator in July and the project was profiled at the Surrey Heritage Showcase event in October. A community event also took place at Shalford village hall in November where Professor Alan Crocker gave an insight into the history of the valley. The project will discover more about the Tillingbourne River and the industries it supported, helping to bring local history to local communities. A new website is currently being set up and will be available in 2016.

Off Road Working Group

Further engagement with Surrey Police

Due to the success of the Mole Valley off road motorcycles, the group are keen to extend this across the Surrey Hills. The motorcycles play an important role in providing a deterrent, mobility for police officers and a means of communicating with the public. The group will look for funding to roll this project out as well as look at recruiting voluntary rural wardens from members of the public. Fly-tipping continues to be a problem throughout the Surrey Hills. The group suggested a Code of Conduct should be drawn up in bullet point format, reminding people of their legal obligations with regard to fly-tipping, and circulated to Parish Councils, Borough and District Councils and SCC to raise awareness of this issue. Click here to find out more about the working group.

Mountain Bike Working Group

Leith Hill Trail a success

The Summer Lightening mountain bike trail has been successful in reducing the number of trails across the commons and reducing conflict with other users. The group are to submit a bid to the London Marathon Trust for improvements and an extension to the Summer Lightning trail. There will be consultation with walkers and horse riders on site, and the Surrey Countryside Access Forum will be consulted. Click here to find out more about the working group.

The AONB Board continues to be concerned about the impact of road cycling.

Quiet Lanes and De-Cluttering Working Group

Our Heritage application developed

The group was re-established this year to promote measures that reinforce the rural character of our countryside lanes and villages, and to extend its remit to include the work on undergrounding overhead wires. The group are undertaking a project in the Guildford, Dorking and Cranleigh areas to review HGV movements and restrictions, and to establish a systematic approach to reviewing sign clutter based on an award winning approach developed by Norfolk County Council. Click here to find out more about the working group.

Horse Riding

New working group established

Members for the Surrey Countryside Access Forum proposed that the Surrey Hills Board establish a Working Group to promote horse riding in the Surrey Hills.  The group met for the first time in November. The purpose of the group will be to identify hacking trails; improvements to infrastructure and raising awareness. For further information on this group contact Pennie King, working groups administrator;

North Downs Way National Trail

Google Trekker Project

Peter Morris has been recruited as the North Downs Way National Trail Manager. This year he undertook the Google Trekker project which involved walking the North Downs Way with a streetview camera mounted on a backpack to capture images which will and provide the world with a 360° panoramic experience of the trail. These images will be available via Google Maps in the Spring of 2016. There has also been a new sign commissioned in Farnham to mark the start of the Trail. For further information on the North Downs Way National Trail click here.

Surrey Hills Wood Fair

Most successful year yet!

Surrey Hills Enterprises organised the 6th Surrey Hills Wood Fair this year. It was the largest and most successful event yet with around 6,500 visitors and 130 exhibitors descending on the Birtley Estate in Bramley for the two day fair.

The date for the 2016 Wood Fair has been set for Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 October. Click here to find out more about the 2015 event.

The National Wood Fuel Conference

Promoting the benefits of Biomass

The National Wood Fuel Conference took place on 15 October at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises, this year's conference promoted the benefits of biomass as part of the wider renewable energy sector encouraged collaborative working across the supply chain from woodland owners to end markets. Click here to find out more about the National Wood Fuel Conference.


World's largest public art event coming to Surrey

Organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises, CowParade Surrey Hills was officially launched at Sandown Park Racecourse in November. This high profile project will see life-size cows, sponsored by businesses and decorated by artists positioned around Surrey from May-September 2016.The project provides a major opportunity to raise the profile of the Surrey Hills, engage partners and raise fund for the Surrey Hills Trust Fund and other charities. Click here to find out more about CowParade.


Business Collaboration

Over 45 business members

Surrey Hills Enterprises continues to work effectively with the business community. There are over 45 businesses who are members of Surrey Hills Enterprises and feature in the on-line directory. Regular networking events take place throughout the year and are always well attended. Surrey Hills Enterprises has the largest programme of upcoming events ever in 2016, with the Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden at Birtley Estate, Music, Food & Drink Festival at Coverwood Lakes, Wood Fair and Wood Fuel Conference all on the calendar! For further information on Surrey Hills Enterprises click here.

Inspiring Views

Mittal Foundation funding to develop project

In partnership with Surrey Arts, Ali Clarke has been seconded to develop Surrey Hills Arts. We are delighted that Perdita Hunt, Director of the Watts Gallery has agreed to Chair the group. One of the key projects to deliver is the Inspiring Views project which is being sponsored by The Mittal Foundation. This is aimed at 5 key viewpoints in Waverley with a programme of viewpoint enhancement, access improvements, art installations and education outreach work. Over 45 submissions have been received from artists and the 5 chosen artists will be announced in the New Year. Click here to find out more about Surrey Hills Arts.

Surrey Hills Trust Fund

Fundraising successes

Councillor Mike Band, Vice Chairman of the Surrey Hills Board and Mayor of Waverley Borough Council, nominated the Trust Fund as his Mayoral charity for 2015/2016. Mike undertook a sponsored walk across Waverley in September, the walk organised by the Surrey Hills Society raised over £3k for the Trust Fund. Richard Kelly and Ian Warby took part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 challenge in August also helping to raise funds. A first grant has been awarded from the Trust Fund to the Leatherhead Youth Project which will offer outdoor learning opportunities to a disadvantaged group of young people. The profile and funds of the Surrey Hills Trust Fund are set to rise in 2016 with two major events, CowParade Surrey and the Surrey Hills Challenge. For further information on the Surrey Hills Trust Fund click here.

Surrey Hills Challenge

25 September 2016

The Surrey Hills Challenge is set to be one of the biggest sporting challenges in Surrey next year with a series of running and walking events in the Surrey Hills on Sunday 25th September 2016.

People of all ages and fitness can participate in four different running and walking challenges. The Greensand Way will form the backdrop to the event where the super fit can face the ultimate challenge with ‘The Ultra’, a 60km run, ‘The Half’, no ordinary walk (or run) in the park of 21km, ‘The Ten’,  a fast and furious 10km or ‘The Five’, a family challenge 5km event.

The event will raise funds for the Community Foundation for Surrey and the Surrey Hills Trust Fund. For more information or to register visit

Surrey Hills Society

Another successful year

The Surrey Hills Society continues in its main role of promoting and engaging with the public and raising awareness of the issues facing the AONB. The annual social dinner at the County Club Guildford, took place in September and was attended by the Mayor of Waverley, Mike Band and Deputy Mayor of Guildford, Gordon Jackson. A successful AGM took place at The Parrott, Forest Green in November, click here to read the minutes.

The Society newsletter 'Views', now sponsored by the Anthony Wakefield Co, continues to be extremely popular and effective in engaging existing and new members.   Vice Chairman, Ken Bare continues to deliver talks to various groups across the County and the Surrey Hills trailer is a regular feature at various fetes and shows.

A varied events programme has been finalised for 2016 and the main priority of the Management Team and Trustees is to grow the membership. Click here to find out more about the Surrey Hills Society.

Surrey Hills AONB Board Financial Summary

Reporting on the 2014/2015 budget

Members of the Surrey Hills AONB Board approved the out-turn report at its AGM in October. This only accounts for the core costs of the AONB unit and does not reflect the budget of the Surrey Hills family and partners in implementing the Management Plan. To view the financial summary click here.
© Surrey Hills 2014.

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