Now in its 26th year, the Downlands Countryside Management Project provides a quality urban fringe countryside 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 Downlands Project has been extremely successful in achieving a wide range of countryside improvements and generating support and involvement in practical action from local communities.
The Project relies very heavily on its dedicated group of volunteers and is always happy to welcome along anyone new; why not check out the varied programme of volunteer tasks?
The Project won a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund six years ago to further conserve the valuable chalk downland found across Surrey and South London. This enabled the London and Surrey chalk grassland Habitat Action Plan targets to be met. Total value of the programme was just under £1 million over a six year period. This project was known as The Old Surrey Downs Project and was successfully completed in June 2012. Ongoing chalk grassland management, conversation grazing and community involvement continues as part of the Downlands Project remit.