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Lowland heathland is a habitat of outstanding importance for its range of nationally and internationally rare and endangered species. These ancient, open landscapes are generally found on poor, acid, sandy soils less than 300m above sea level. They are characterised by dwarf shrubs of the heather family. In Surrey, 85% of the heathland has been lost in the past 200 years, leading to a severe loss of biodiversity. More recently however, heathland has been recognised for its wildlife value and its historical and cultural interest. Heathers such as cross-leaved heath are indicative of heathland. Dartford warbler, nightjar and the grayling butterfly are all indicators of good heathland condition. Many other species will also benefit from good heathland management including characteristic bird species such as the linnet, stonechat, tree pipit, hobby and a range of reptiles.

Who might you see?



Cross-leaved Heath


Dartford Warbler




Conservation projects

Surrey Hills Rail to Ramble image of Milford Common

Heathland Connections


Watch our Making Space for Nature film, celebrating the 150-year birthday of composer of the Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughn Williams and our mosaic of habitats in the Surrey Hills.

This video was created in partnership with the National Trust.