The Albury Estate is situated close to Guildford and includes some of the best loved parts of the Surrey Hills, such as the beautiful viewpoint of Newlands Corner.
This project was to purchase a Rytec Contractor Flail Collector which will enhance and improve the Estate’s ability to undertake maintenance, restoration and management of chalk downland, lowland heathland and woodland rides throughout the Estate.
Previously, the Estate had no means of collecting material cut mechanically so the flail collector will allow areas to be cut and cleared in one operation. Removal of the arisings from mechanical cutting is recommended by Butterfly Conservation and Surrey Bat Group as it avoids the development of rank grassland on the meadows and downland and also avoids the build-up of nutrients which encourages hogweed, brambles, thistles and other unwanted plants.
The purchase of the Flail Collection supports the Surrey Hills Management Plan 2020-2025 by enabling improved management of chalk downland, lowland heathland and woodland rides to create and conserve the attractive mosaic of landscapes for which the Surrey Hills is renowned.
We used the (FiPL) grant to purchase a specialist flail collector. This will enable the Estate to improve its management of the important heathland, chalk grassland and woodland sites by working more efficiently and productively over larger areas to the benefit of the landscape, wildlife, biodiversity and the many people who visit this part of the Surrey Hills AONB. The grant application was straightforward and the Estate received support throughout the process.
Michael Baxter, the Albury Estate
On Tuesday 1 February 2022, the Albury Estate was visited by The Rt Hon Lord Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Rural Affairs, access to nature and Biosecurity) at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who was able to see the flail collector in action. He was impressed to hear about the brilliant outcomes of the FiPL grant, especially the support for habitat and wildlife, such as for the small blue butterfly.
Update: Sept 2022
These new rides have undergone a recent botanical survey, which concluded that some new species of plant have already begun to grow. This project will now allow a mosaic of woodland, scrub and grassland to develop, attracting more wildlife and space for nature.