Celebrating 10 years of heathland restoration at Farnham
Last modified: 19 June 2012
On Friday 15th June volunteers, local councilors and partner organizations came together to celebrate the success of the last ten years at RSPB Farnham Heath.
After taking over the site in 2002 the RSPB set about restoring the conifer plantations back into a heathland and encouraging the special wildlife to return.
With the support of many people and organisations and a dedicated team of volunteers the site has been transformed into a healthy heathland for the benefit of both wildlife and local people.
Mike Coates, RSPB Farnham Heath project manager, said: “It’s been wonderful to see the site develop over the last ten years and as the heath has come back so the wildlife has returned.
“We couldn’t have done it without our volunteers who all come from the local community and come out every week to help clear scrub, maintain paths and put up information.”
The restoration work is already bringing results with purple heather and flowering gorse emerging in the parts of the reserve that have been cleared.
Rare field crickets were released onto the reserve over the last two springs and can now be heard singing. Nightjars started breeding in 2006 and have increased steadily each year with a total of six ‘churring’ males this summer. Woodlarks have also returned along with other rare heathland wildlife such as sand lizards.
Panoramic views have been opened up across the Weald so visitors can enjoy the wider landscape and a number of historical features have been uncovered from WW2 military gun emplacements to parish boundary banks.
As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, guests were the first to get a guided walk of the new history trail that has been created to highlight the cultural significance of heathland and how it has been used by people over the centuries.
As well as continuing to manage Farnham Heath for wildlife and encourage visitors to the reserve, the RSPB will carry on its work with partner organizations and land owners as part of the wider network of heathland across southern England to ensure this fragile habitat survives.