If you’ve indulged in too many mince pies this year, why not work off those Christmas calories by taking a walk on the wild side with Surrey Wildlife Trust? With more than 70 nature reserves to explore and a host of New Year events, now’s a great time to get outside and enjoy Surrey’s winter landscapes with family and friends.
Pull on your boots and warm clothes and head to Shere Woodlands near Guildford for an inspiring walk through fallen leaves, with the promise of breathtaking views from West Hanger across the Weald and towards the South Downs. Keep an eye out for birds of prey like buzzards or kestrels hunting for small mammals.
Or grab your binoculars and take a trip to Nutfield Marshes, near Redhill, for some fresh air and a satisfying stroll round the lakes. This wonderful wetland reserve is a magnet for winter water fowl and waders. Tufted ducks, gadwalls and the odd pochard can be found at this time of year, together with mute swans, little grebes and greylag geese.
A walk on the vast windswept landscape of Chobham Common is spectacular at this time of year. This rare lowland heathland is the largest National Nature Reserve in the south east of England. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded here, including the rare Dartford warbler – look out for this small but striking bird perched on top of gorse stems.
“It’s a winter wonderland out there with so many wild places to discover,” said the Trust’s Charlotte Magowan. “So why not get out with your family and friends this season?”
Or you could join one of the New Year events, including guided walks, family fun and courses? Here are a few ideas to start your 2018 in wild style:
Shiver & Shake at Ashtead – Saturday, January 13, 11am-12.30pm
Explore magical Ashtead Park in winter and learn about the habitats create such a fantastic haven for wildlife.
Wild Families – Saturday, January 13, 10.30am-12.30pm
Go wild with your family and get closer to nature at a fun session for all ages at Newlands Corner near, Guildford, with games, crafts and wild activities for all.
Dual Workshop: Willow Making & Yoga – Tuesday, January 16, 10am-3pm
Enjoy a New Year treat at Nower Wood, near Leatherhead – spend the morning learning to make outdoor candle holders/bird feeders from willow. After lunch, relax with an afternoon yoga session – dreamy!
Winter Wanderings on Rodborough – Monday, January 22, 10am-12noon
Blow away the Christmas cobwebs on a guided winter walk exploring the beautiful expanses of Rodborough Common, near Godalming.
Remember that members of the Trust get free walks and discounted talks and courses. You can sign up for half price membership in our January sale and get a free calendar, while stocks last. For more information on membership and all of the Trust’s events, courses and talks, as well as a full list of more than 70 nature reserves to explore across the county visit www.surreywildlifetrust.org.