There are a number of local nature reserves owned by Surrey County Council and managed on our behalf by Surrey Wildlife Trust. They are Hackhurst Downs, Nore Hill, Staffhurst Wood and Whitmoor and Rickford Commons. In addition Sayers Croft environmental education centre is looked after by the Environmental Education Trust.
Hackhurst Downs, Gomshall is an area of chalk grassland, scrub and secondary woodland, which contains the only sizeable stand of juniper on the North Downs. The site is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its incredible diversity of wild flowers and invertebrates. Rarities include horse-shoe vetch and the nationally uncommon man orchid. Forty species of butterfly have been recorded and there are good colonies of locally uncommon species such as the Adonis blue and chalkhill blue.
Nore Hill Pinnacle near Warlingham is the first geological Local Nature Reserve in England. It shows a chalk pinnacle formed by weathering some 40 million years ago which was later surrounded by sand and gravel. The site is on old gravel workings, which is how the pinnacle was exposed. The rest of the site was filled in with domestic refuse, covered in topsoil and returned to grazing land.
Staffhurst Wood, Limpsfield is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an ancient semi-natural woodland on Weald clay with mixed oak woodland and coppice. It has a very important moth population including six uncommon species.
Whitmoor and Rickford Commons, Worplesdon are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and part of the Thames Basin's Heath Special Protection Area (SPA - a European designation). This very popular site is so valued as it contains wet and dry heathland, acidic grassland and mixed age woodland. Whitmoor and Rickford Common is a very important habitat for birds such as nightjar and woodlark and plants such as marsh gentian.
Sayers Croft, near Ewhurst is an environmental education centre, owned by the Environmental Education Trust for children and young people. The grounds contain ancient woodland, meadows and a stream as well as the rare lemon scented fern. Other features and species of interest include hazel coppice with oak, bluebell, violet and wild service tree.
Take a look at our places to visit for nature and wildlife for details of Surrey's 4 National Nature Reserves located at Chobham, Ashtead, Thursley and the South London Downs in East Surrey at Coulsdon and Kenley Commons. You can also find out whether there's a Local Nature Reserve near you.