Rare wildlife has a better chance to thrive thanks to scrub clearance at Box Hill in Surrey. The work will also allow many more cycling fans to watch the Olympic road races in July.
hill is home to many endangered species that only live on chalk
grassland. These species are protected nationally and internationally.
a detailed wildlife survey, funded by The London Organising Committee
of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has confirmed that we can
safely remove some areas of scrub, creating more grassland where these
species can flourish.
We have worked with LOCOG and the
government’s wildlife and landscape advisers, Natural England, to create
a balance between protecting wildlife and promoting enjoyment of top
level international sport.
It is hoped the work will make room
for up to 15,000 spectators to watch the world’s best cyclists tackle
Box Hill’s Zig-Zag Road, which is widely regarded as the most
challenging part of the Olympic race route.
Andy Wright, our
countryside manager for Box Hill said: 'It’s great news that so many
people will be able to enjoy the races in this wonderful natural
setting. Since traditional farming ceased in the 1930s, woodland
has been encroaching onto the grassland at Box Hill and we’ve been
battling to keep it back.
The surveys conducted by LOCOG are the
most thorough ever carried out on this site and they have really helped
us understand the best way to manage the habitat for the long term. The
scrub alongside the road has very few species living in it so when we
remove it, it doesn’t matter if people walk in those areas.
over the years, that land will turn back into chalk grassland which is a
much richer habitat – supporting around 60 to 100 species of plants,
animals and insects per square metre.'
Find out more information on the work happening at Box Hill.