Resolve to explore a local nature reserve this month

SURREY Wildlife Trust is urging the public to make a special New Year’s resolution – a pledge to visit one of the county’s nature reserves.

On a cold day, head for heaths such as Ockham and Wisley Common. The landscape of frosty heather and scattered pine has a desolate beauty and a feeling of true wilderness.

Look out for the beady red eye of the small but striking Dartford warbler perched on top of gorse, which may be in fiery yellow bloom. 

STUNNING SCENERY – Brentmoor Heath, near Camberley, is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust. Picture by Mark Horton

Crooksbury Hill near Farnham is a woodland reserve with stunning views across Surrey and Hampshire. Soldier’s Ring, on the northern side, is a scheduled ancient monument. The hill fort is thought to date to the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age.

Worth the hike to the summit, steep steps lead straight to the top or a more gentle path follows the side of the hill. A mixture of woodland, open glades and heathland.

Why not take a warming winter walk up the wooded slopes of Chinthurst Hill for lovely views of Guildford from the summit? There you will find an impressive stone folly built in the 30’s by Lord Inchcape. Look out for birds of prey including buzzards and sparrowhawks hunting for prey in the fields below.

Surrey Wildlife Trust is offering half price membership in its January sale. For more information on membership, free guided walks, discounted talks and courses and a list of more than 80 nature reserves to explore across the county, visit www.surreywildlifetrust.org.

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