Restoring Chalk Grassland with Surrey Hills Society

1st February 2023

The Society has been working closely with the Hampton Estate in Puttenham to help restore an area of chalk grassland known as Longdown.

The extensive area requires the removal of small hawthorn trees to restore the habitat to botanically rich chalk grassland. This involves using ‘Tree Poppers’, bespoke tools that are used to lever inappropriate tree species out of the ground by the root.

The Society has helped to facilitate several volunteer groups to come and ‘pop’ hawthorn, contributing to the restoration of Longdown. So far, groups have included the Surrey Choices Growth Team, Halow, Defra (Farming in Protected Landscapes Team) and Butterfly Conservation. In fact, the Small Blue task group from Butterfly Conservation, are hoping to plant Kidney Vetch at the site, the foodplant that is crucial to the development of Small Blue caterpillars, the butterfly of which is one of our Surrey Hills species!

The volunteer effort has been great and a special thanks to the Hampton Estate for providing all our volunteers with a hot lunch as well as fantastic views over Puttenham Common.

Surrey choices chalk restoration