Go wild in Guildford

Round & About


Watch out for the giant badger on 1st and 2nd June and take on the 30 Days Wild challenge

Could you go wild for 30 days in June? That’s the challenge being issued by Countryfile’s Matt Baker.

The UK’s biggest nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, is encouraging people to do something wild every day of the month and get closer to nature.

Matt was inspired by the work of Surrey Wildlife Trust when filming in the county in April and is urging Surrey residents to join in in their thousands.

The challenge is proven to make people healthier, happier and more likely to do something to help the wildlife in their gardens and enjoy nature on their doorstep.

And the choice is yours when it comes to what you do to ‘go wild’ – you could just lie in the grass and gaze up at the clouds, spend some time by the river, admire the dragonflies, create a bucket pond at home or listen to birdsong instead of putting your headphones in on the way to school or work.

The Trust has plenty of ideas on its website and there’s an app which will generate daily ideas.

If you’re in Guildford on Saturday 1st and Sunday, 2nd June don’t be surprised to see a giant badger in High Street – he’ll be celebrating as part of a weekend of activities to mark the wildlife trust’s 60th anniversary. Be inspired by the large pop-up wildlife garden and gardening experts. Get up close to wildlife, take part in fun wildlife themed activities, face painting and trails and much more. There’s also free entry to the Wild Surrey Art and Photography Exhibition at Guildford House Gallery which runs until 16th June.

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Charlotte Magowan said: “30 Wild Days is the perfect excuse to just get out there every day and enjoy nature where we live.

“Surrey’s countryside is incredible and it’s just too easy to get stuck in the hamster wheel of life and miss the beauty of the natural world.

“Whether you decide to watch the sun go down, listen to a dawn chorus, take a meeting outside, feed the birds or take a video of a minibeast, we want everyone to get closer to nature. It is only by experiencing nature that we recognise its value and realise how important it is to protect it.”

There are a wide range of events, walks and talks taking place as part of SWT’s diamond anniversary, to find out how to get involved and inspiration for ideas visit Surrey Wildlife Trust

Surrey Day

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Celebrate Surrey Day with some fantastic fun for the whole family!

Surrey is celebrating just how special it is with one big day of events and activities on Saturday, 4th May.

Around 26 million people visit the county each year to enjoy the theatres, art galleries, restaurants, hotels and countless attractions and stunning countryside that make up Surrey.

There are a whole host of events planned for the day to celebrate just how great Surrey is with something for everyone, with many of the venues and events boasting special offers and discounts.

Among the highlights are The Sculpture Park near Farnham where you can enjoy exhibits from national and international artists on display in the arboretum and water gardens. Walk the two-mile trail that winds through 10 acres of natural beauty with art all along the way.

From art to vines and Denbies Vineyard in Dorking is offering free 45-minute tours (10am and 11am) for Surrey residents. Wander among the vines while listening to a recorded commentary. If you go into the Hogs Back Brewery Shop and say ‘Happy Surrey Day’ when you buy their draught golden ale Surrey Nirvana you can enjoy 10 per cent off.

National Trust property Clandon Park is offering free entry to Surrey folk on proof of residency. There’s the chance to explore the ruins and gardens and meet members of the team behind Clandon’s restoration who will give an insight into the work going on behind the scenes to restore it to its former glory after the fire in 2015.

There’s also a Surrey Day BBQ to enjoy at StanHill Court Hotel, Charlwood, bring the whole family along and enjoy entertainment and activities to celebrate how fab Surrey is.

If you’re celebrating it should involve some fizz and cake so pop along to Greyfriars Vineyard in Puttenham and stop by the Cellar Door Shop and sample some sparkle. Sales from cakes on the day will be given to charity.

There’s more food and drink to celebrate with on Surrey Day with a street party at The Silent Pool in Albury where a cluster of artisan producers will come together so you can sample gin and cocktails, award-winning English wine, locally brewed beer, cheese, Indian nibbles and ice cream all while enjoying live music. Take a stroll up to the vineyard to experience the views over the Surrey Hills and bring your children along to join in the vineyard toy trail.

For the more active among you, how about becoming a skywalker at the Skywalk Adventure in Esher – try out the 22 obstacles and 4 zip wires or go underground and climb down into the caves under Dorking to see where secret meetings were held and people went from pub to pub without going above ground.

There are a whole host of activities and events to enjoy, you’re sure to find something for you to get out and celebrate Surrey!

  For more details head to Visit Surrey

Local giving for local need

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The Community Foundation for Surrey is making a difference through its family of donors.

Local people who want to give back to their local community and make a difference. That’s the simple premise behind the Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation for Surrey is dedicated to enabling local philanthropy across the county, connecting people with charitable projects.

Foundation donors are individuals, families, businesses and charitable trusts which support the community by awarding grants to meet identified local needs.

The Community Foundation model was first established in the USA in 1914 and is now a global movement operating in more than 1,800 communities worldwide, with 46 in the UK. Since setting up in the UK, Community Foundations have collectively awarded more than £1billion in grants to support local charities and voluntary organisations in need.

You may be surprised to discover that there is such a need right here in Surrey which is consistently rated as among the best places to live in the UK. However, even here there are pockets of deprivation and people who face multiple challenges, from mental health to domestic abuse.

The foundation’s research, Surrey Uncovered, has exposed the real need that exists in the county, the needs which motivate the foundation to raise awareness of the importance of philanthropy and encourage local people to be part of the solution.

Last year the Community Foundation for Surrey awarded more than £1.4million in grants, the highest amount awarded in a single year since the charity was set up in 2005.

The foundation’s work to inspire philanthropy in Surrey has generated a total of £23million for causes in the community, helping them both on a day-to-day basis and in perpetuity.

Laura Thurlow, chief executive of the foundation, said: “While we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved, there is still much more work to be done. Sadly, last year, we were unable to support over £1.5million of requests from community groups working to make our county a better place.

“Our aim is to encourage and inspire more local people to join our growing family of donors. We offer a range of giving options and enable donors to give to the areas of importance to them and causes close to their heart.

“Whether you’re a local group looking for funding, or someone wanting to support the local community, we would love to hear from you, so please do get in touch!”

Top photo: CFS Staff Team – Rebecca Clay, Nicola Bartlett, Victoria Kear, Joe Crome, Laura Thurlow, Kate Peters, Louise Wickham, Deepa Craig

Did you know...

some 22,640 children live in poverty in Surrey

10,600 of Surrey children aged five to15 have a mental health disorder

24,000 girls and women in Surrey aged between 16 and 59 have been the victim of domestic abuse

30,000 carers are over the age of 65

  For more information about the foundation, please visit www.cfsurrey.org.uk

Wind in the Willows

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Help save Badger, Ratty, Mole and Toad and create a wilder future

Badger, Ratty, Mole and Toad are starring in a new campaign from The Wildlife Trust calling for a wilder future.

A Wind in the Willows trailer (below) featuring in cinemas this weekend shows the threats the much-loved characters are facing and what can be done to help our wildlife before it’s too late.

And it’s received backing from Sir David Attenborough as well as the stars who provide the characters’ voices – Stephen Fry as Badger, Catherine Tate as Ratty, Alison Steadman as Mole and Asim Chaudhry as Toad.

The trailer mirrors the reality of creatures such as the badger, water vole, mole and toad with disruption to their lives by roads, river pollution and intensive agriculture.

Kenneth Grahame wrote Wind in the Willows more than 100 years ago and in the time since it was published in 1908 many of the UK’s wild places and its wildlife have been destroyed.

Ratty, the water vole, is the UK’s most declining mammal and despite work to identify the number in Surrey it is unclear if any still exist in the county. It is presumed extinct.

Almost 70 per cent of toads have been lost over the last 30 years too.

The main problems wildlife face in this country are:

• Loss of habitat from intensive farming and places broken up by roads

• Climate change which disrupts breeding patterns, threatens life cycles and creates food shortages

CEO of Surrey Wildlife Trust, Sarah Jane Chimbwandira said: “People move to Surrey because they love the convenience of commuting to work and living within a beautiful county, with leafy neighbourhoods, iconic woodland views form the Surrey Hills and peaceful riverside walks.”

The decline in UK habitats since Kenneth Grahame’s wonderful tale is truly shocking

She added the county’s wildlife is in great decline and in for it to recover it is essential “to create a mass movement of people calling for change”.

Sarah Jane said: “The Wildlife Trust film is a sad version of The Wind in the Willows – showing how Ratty and Toad have hit the buffers – but it’s not too late to save them in Surrey. We can create strong laws to establish a Nature Recovery Network, which will enable a wider future and help nature make a comeback.”

The aim of the film is to inspire people to help by: contacting politicians to ask for stronger environmental laws; walking in the paw prints of others and imagine what wildlife needs to survive where you live and create a wilder future where you are by playing a part in making changes.

Alison Steadman who plays Mole said: “The decline in UK habitats since Kenneth Grahame’s wonderful tale is truly shocking. Millions of people in this country profess a love of wildlife and we need everyone to be taking it back action to bring about nature’s recovery.

“I wanted to take part in this film to help inspire people to get involved and bring our nature back.”

Sir David gave his support to The Wildlife Trust’s campaign saying: “What we create may not look exactly like the countryside that Kenneth Grahame drew such inspiration from, but our wildlife won’t mind just so long as it has the places it needs to live and thrive.”

Find out what you can do to get involved at www.surreywildlifetrust.org.uk and if you’re going to the cinema this weekend don’t forget to look out for the trailer.

Surrey Wildlife Trust

Round & About


Happy anniversary to Surrey Wildlife Trust!

Surrey Wildlife Trust is celebrating its 60th anniversary of protecting the county’s wildlife this week and has a range of events to mark the milestone.

On 21st March, 1959, a band of naturalists and conservationists founded the Surrey Naturalists’ Trust with two goals – to protect wildlife and educate the public about nature – these tenets are still fundamental to the Trust today.

While much work has been carried out over the past 60 years to ensure they have stayed true to this since securing the first reserve in 1960, Seale Chalk Pit on the Hog’s Back to saving the ancient woodland Nower Wood, near Leatherhead to creating a new reserve in 2013 called Priest Hill.

Today the Trust manages more than 70 reserves, has more than 26,000 members and is supported by in excess of 1,000 volunteers who won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service last year.

2019 marks a new milestone for the Trust with  new chief executive officer Sarah Jane Chimbwandira and a new strategy to reconnect the landscape with nature recovery networks. Healthy and well-managed hedgerows, rivers, nature reserves and green spaces will help people and wildlife flourish.

Sarah Jane said: “If we all take action now, in 60 years’ time wildlife could be thriving and at the heart of everyday life. If not, we may not even notice that wildlife has disappeared from Surrey’s precious landscape, being replaced by litter and pollution.  And all because we think it’s someone else’s job to look after it; it isn’t.

“We all have to take action and we all have to look after Surrey’s landscape like our early founders and volunteers.”

She adds: “We welcome everyone to get involved. Anyone can be the next leading environmentalist in Surrey. Could it be you?”

The Trust has walks, talks and events planned over the next few months to celebrate its 60 years beginning with an environmental youth summit for 16-18 year olds on 28th March.

There’s still time to enter the Wild Surrey art and photographic competition!

Entries must be submitted by 14th April –  an exhibition will then take place in Guildford from 25th May to 14th June during this time on 1st and 2nd June Guildford Goes Wild on the High Street.

Other events to look out for are Bay Pond open day in Godstone on 15th June; heath week from 28th July to 2nd August and rivers week from 22nd to 29th September.

Picture: David Attenborough visits Nower Wood in 1985

For more information about Surrey Wildlife Trust, it’s activities, celebrations and how you can get involved visit surreywildlifetrust.org