Annual Report 2000 – 2001
The Horley Crawley Countryside Management Project covers an area of 100km in the urban fringe on the Surrey/Sussex border. 2000/01 has seen the Project develop and it continues to work closely with local authorities, private landowners, volunteers and communities to bring about significant improvements to the environment of the Project area.
Operating its popular mid week and weekend tasks, the Project has achieved 4588 volunteer hours over the past year, only slightly marred by the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Our previous year’s Ranger Team has now moved on, having successfully completed their NVQs and found employment within the environmental sector. A new team of four Rangers has been selected to continue in their place to ensure the smooth running of tasks.
The Project has continued to strengthen its links with local communities by supporting local groups, BTCV groups and schools. As with previous years, our ties with the Crawley Conservation Volunteers and Woodland Trust "Woodlanders" have remained close maintaining a full and active year of tasks. Our work to promote and develop an interest in conservation for young people has continued with our links to the CLAY Project, Princes Trust, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, school and college students.
Our partnership with BAA Gatwick and The Body Shop has maintained local businesses involvement in their environment. The Project has been working closely with BAA Gatwick over the past year, offering guidance and support with their environmental strategy and will be embarking upon a project to write habitat management plans for their conservation areas. BAA Gatwick continue to offer their support with the purchase of a new Project Landrover.
The Project’s work to help improve access routes throughout the Project area has been ongoing over the past year. This includes the successful completion and launch of the Reigate and Banstead Millenium Trail with continuing monitoring and maintenance projected for the next year, along with the Crawley Greenway.
Footpath improvements have been carried out at various sites within the project area including the addition of bridges, steps and boardwalks with further works planned to improve access to Target Hill LNR.
Future projects include the production and waymarking of a new self-guided Tilgate Forest walk leaflet.
The past year has seen the Project continuing its involvement in many of the diverse habitats within the Project area. Maintenance of the hedgerow at Ifield has been carried out, continuing the management regime of previous hedgelaying work of two years ago. Helping to maintain the rural character of this area.
The importance of hedgerows as wildlife corridors and features of the surrounding countryside has led the Project to embark on an exiting new venture. The Project will be targeting and surveying important hedgerows within the Project area which will tie into the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s survey of West Sussex and the West Sussex Hedgerow Biodiversity Action Plan.
Management of Crawley’s two Local Nature Reserves (LNRs), Grattons Park and Target Hill has continued. Target Hill has seen the introduction of a sculptured dipping platform and bench. High quality interpretation boards have also been produced for the LNR and will be sited soon Further access work is planned for the coming year. The current management regime of Grattons Park is continuing, this will be revised and updated this year. The Grattons Park self-guided nature trail has proved to be popular with the current leaflet in high demand.
The Project’s work on heathlands an internationally important habitat has continued. The Project helped with the launch of the Tilgate Nature Centre Heathland Exhibit, which was well attended by the public. A stewardship application for Tilgate Forest heathlands in partnership with Forest Enterprise has been put forward, along with the creation of a new walk leaflet.
Woodland management has continued over the past year through our links with organisations such as The Woodland Trust and ‘Woodlanders’. A new woodland site near Horsham has also entered our work program. Work carried out this year included coppicing, glade creation and ride widening
The Project is continuing to help develop the Sussex Urban Biodiversity Action Plan as a member of the steering group.
Schools and Community Groups
The Project has continued its support of local schools by offering advice, management skills and work parties. Work began last year on Leechpool Lane County Primary (HDC) Schools nature garden as well as continued maintenance of nature gardens at Thomas Bennett School and Three Bridges First School (CBC).
Links with Crawley College have been reinforced with a programme of tasks days to include student work parties, which we hope to continue over the next year.
Public participation in and understanding of conservation, countryside management and the role of the Project has been achieved through a programme of events, walks and talks.
Guided walks were held with The Woodland Trust and at the launch of the Crawley Greenway and Reigate and Banstead MillenniumTrail. A series of guided walks at Woodland Trust sites have been planned for the coming summer.
The Project has continued to promote itself through appearances at Crawley Carnival, Ifield May Fayre and exhibitions at Gatton Park Woodland Craft Day, with much interest shown by the public. Talks and presentations given to interested groups have included Crawley College and St. Margarets Christian Youth Group in Ifield.
Project Management and Finance
Surrey CC 10385
West Sussex CC 9757
Reigate & Banstead BC 5764
Mole Valley DC 5764
Crawley BC 2882 ( 5764 inc office)
Gatwick Airport Ltd. 3500 *
Horley Town Council 1500
Countryside Agency 4794
Reigate and Banstead Millennium Trail 3288
Reigate and Banstead Ranger contract 3690
Reigate and Banstead footpaths 2466
Crawley BC Greenway 3288
Survey work 274
* Gatwick Airport Ltd contributed 3500. The surplus of a Special Projects budget from previous years funded the Landrover until 31st March 2001.
Looking forward 2001/2002
The Project will continue to enhance the local environment through the development of stronger links with contacts and community groups and look forward to a full and active year.
The Horley Crawley Countryside Management Project
Tilgate Park, Tilgate
Crawley, West Sussex RH10 5PQ
Telephone: 01293 550730
The Horley Crawley Project is sponsored by Surrey County Council, West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council, Horsham District Council, Mole Valley District Council, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, Horley Town Council and Gatwick Airport Ltd.