Skip to main content

Downlands Partnership – news and environmental education

Sanderstead to Whyteleafe Countryside Area (SWCA): environmental education, conservation volunteering and seasonal family fun

Downlands Partnership Countryside Project Officer Sarah Clifford works extensively with conservation volunteers of all ages, local schools and scout/cub groups, to pro-actively restore and manage the beautiful chalk downland landscape that comprises the Sanderstead to Whyteleafe Countryside Area (SWCA).

Sarah runs her popular practical conservation volunteering task days at the SWCA on Mondays and one Sunday per month throughout the year, in conjunction with the main Downlands Partnership volunteering task programme. Please refer to the Downlands Partnership Volunteer Task Programme for details of the latest volunteering opportunities or call Sarah on 01883 341140 to find out more and to discuss how you could get involved.

Sarah also provides many special, fun and informative family environmental education events and seasonal exploration walks in partnership at the SWCA throughout the year. Unfortunately Sarah is unable to offer any special events during the summer programme, but new dates for early autumn onwards will be announced in due course.

Please also have a look at the Sanderstead to Whyteleafe Countryside Area leaflet (PDF) for an overview of the SWCA area and Sarah's great countryside partnership work.

July 2019 marks Natural England's declaration of the South London Downs National Nature Reserve

We are pleased to share the great news that Natural England has declared a 3rd National Nature Reserve (NNR) in London, namely the South London Downs NNR. The new NNR declaration is being officially launched at a public event on 25 July 2019 at Farthing Downs in Coulsdon.

The NNR will be jointly managed by two of the Downlands Partnership core funding partners, London Borough of Croydon and City of London. The new NNR area includes the SWCA, Happy Valley and Coulsdon Common, which are beautiful countryside areas where the Downlands Partnership has been providing a countryside management and conservation grazing service for these partners for many years and we look forward to being involved in the continued partnership management under the NNR status.

Downlands Trust charity - supporting Downlands Partnership and our local beautiful countryside

The Downlands Trust is a registered charity, run by a small group of hard working, dedicated voluntary trustees. The Trust directly helps to support the work of the Downlands Partnership by raising essential funds through memberships and fundraising initiatives.

The Trust, working closely with the Partnership, has already successfully secured funding from Veolia Environmental Trust and the Gannett Foundation. It has also provided essential match funding towards the Partnership's successful SITA Trust grants, previously received for the restoration and creation of various ponds in the Partnership area and for Small Blue Butterfly habitat improvement works.

Lots of essential tools and equipment have been kindly purchased for the Downlands Partnership's practical conservation work. Recently contributions have been made towards the purchase of new livestock and shearing equipment to support the delivery of the conservation grazing programme and tree poppers to support scrub clearance tasks, as well as native hedging plants for Old Lodge Farm.

For the Trust to be a continued success it needs a strong core membership. The Trust currently has over 130 memberships but more would be very welcome. Please see the Downlands Trust membership form on their website. If you would prefer to make a one off donation there is of course this option as well.

The Trust is pleased to welcome legacy donations. If this is something you would like to consider to support the management of your local countryside for the continued enjoyment of future generations, please kindly contact the trustees directly. You can do this via their website or email: to further discuss. Many thanks for your support.

Please also have a look at the Downlands Trust Facebook page to find out more about their local charity work and latest news.

Fantastic corporate partnership news

The Downlands Trust is very pleased to have been selected as the "Our Environment" charity partner for Fidelity International for 2019 and 2020 from 1 January 2019. Fidelity International is based in Kingswood, Surrey and both the Trust and Downlands Partnership are really enjoying working in partnership with Fidelity staff on fundraising initiatives and welcoming them for employee volunteering sessions at glorious local countryside sites. The first groups of employee volunteers joined in on Downlands Partnership countryside task days on 24 and 25 April, to celebrate Earth week 2019 and to support Keep Britain Tidy's #GBSpringClean month 2019. Further employee volunteering groups have joined in during May and twenty four staff joined in on 17 June for a fantastic team volunteering day at Addington Hills alongside the regular SWCA Monday volunteers. More employee team volunteering days are being planned for later in the summer and autumn; this is a fantastic local corporate partnership in action.

Voluntary trustee position available

The Trust is currently looking for an additional voluntary trustee to help with various administration tasks and to be part of the board; if you are interested in local countryside management matters and this sounds like an ideal volunteering opportunity for you, please do complete a contact form on the Downlands Trust website or email them direct as above.

Sheep and strolls with Downlands Partnership Grazing

June has been a very successful month of community outreach work for the Downlands Partnership Grazing team, who linked in again with national LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) initiative Open Farm Sunday on 9 June by opening up Surrey County Council owned private 90 acre farm Old Lodge Farm near Banstead/Carshalton. The team was pleased to welcome 40 visitors over three timed sessions, including 10 children, who all had a great time learning about countryside management and conservation grazing. Activities on offer included shearing demonstrations and nature strolls to meet the sheep/lambs.

Grazing Assistant Connor also organised a special event at Oaks Park on 15 June, in partnership with our partner Sutton Council, the local Sutton Policing Team and the Downlands Trust, to raise awareness of dog worrying and attacks on livestock. Some of the Downlands Partnership ewes were viciously attacked by a dog back in 2018 at Old Lodge Farm (which is across the road from Oaks Park), so it is vitally important to encourage dog owners to be more considerate of their environment and to be mindful when walking with their dogs near livestock and during the current bird nesting season, and this partnership outreach approach works well.

Downlands Partnership task news

Please have a look at our latest Downlands Partnership newsletter (PDF) to find out more about our local countryside management work in action. Also see our Downlands Partnership News 2017-2018 (PDF) with archived news stories.

Files available to download