Now in its 26th year, the Downlands Countryside Management Project provides a quality urban fringe countryside partnership service, enhancing the environment for people and wildlife. Its area of operation covers greenbelt countryside in north-east Surrey and adjoining parts of south London. The rolling chalk hills and associated valleys give rise to stunning scenery. Sheep (breeds: Herdwick, Beulah Speckled Face & Jacob), feral goats, Sussex cattle and Dartmoor ponies successfully graze the chalk downland as part of a long-term management regime.
The aims of the Project encompass the whole range of countryside management activities relating to access, landscape, biodiversity, sustainability, information and community involvement. The Project area contains a variety of habitats and features, but is dominated by the important and threatened chalk downland habitat found on the scarp and dip slopes of the North Downs.
The Project has been extremely successful in achieving a wide range of countryside improvements and generating support and involvement in practical conservation from local communities.
A dedicated, enthusiastic group of countryside volunteers help support the work of the Project and new volunteers are always very welcome; why not check out the varied programme of volunteer tasks on offer throughout the year? Volunteering in the glorious local countryside is great for happiness, health and habitat.
The latest issue (autumn 2013 to spring 2014) of our Project magazine, The Downlander, is available to view below. It is a great, vibrant issue, designed and co-edited by Downlands Project volunteer Graham Kenward. It is full of project news, plus special features including a review of Banstead Countryside Day 2013 and Real Rotters, where volunteer Ted Forsyth reveals what lies beneath woodland fungi... definitely worth a look!