5 things we should all know about Surrey's countryside
PUBLISHED: 14:18 15 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:35 16 September 2014
As an official media partner of The Prince's Countryside Fund, Surrey Life is helping to raise awareness of our countryside and the people who live and work there. Here Christine Howard, chairman of the Surrey Hills Society, brings us five fascinating facts about our local countryside...
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1 Surrey is the most densely wooded county of them all
Our county is proportionally the most densely wooded county in England. Over 22% of Surrey is under woodland cover but much of it is not managed. LC Energy, one of the UK’s leading specialists in sustainable wood fuel supply, is trying to bring our woodlands back into viable production by using wood as an energy source. In fact, Heathrow’s Terminal 2 is already powered by it. To learn more, be sure to visit the Surrey Hills Wood Fair this autumn: see surreyhillswoodland.co.uk and follow the links.
2 Our county is also one of the most densely populated
Our farmland is pressured by a population averaging over 16 people per hectare – which is more than double that of our neighbouring county of Kent. This means tensions between farmers and visitors to the countryside can be fraught, if not carefully managed. Issues of dogs attacking lambs and cows attacking dogs regularly hit the press.
3 Most of our land is generally quite poor for agriculture
Historically, we have never been a great crop producer due to the poor soil, but in the 1950s we did have a thriving dairy industry. This is now starting to make a comeback again with the use of high-tech milking machines such as those used at Pierrepont Farm in Frensham or by adding value like Norbury Farm do with their cheese production.
4 Surrey is the best wine producing county in the UK
The chalky soil of the Surrey Hills is just perfect for wine production and especially sparkling wine. In the last few years, Denbies has been joined by numerous new vineyards including Albury Organic, Greyfriars and High Clandon. There are now 12 across Surrey and they are winning prestigious awards too!
5 Our county has the highest proportion of specialist farms
Surrey is packed full of interesting things to see and do in the countryside as our farmers have diversified in very creative ways. Nowadays, we have everything from cookery schools to ‘walking with llamas’, from glamping to filmsets, and even mountain boarding. Whatever you’re looking for, you can do it all in our county.
To help preserve the countryside for future generations, please support The Prince’s Countryside Fund. You can make a donation to them online at princescountrysidefund.org.uk, at the Post Office or by text. Simply text PCF to 70300 and a £3 donation will be made.
- Visiting the Surrey Hills - stunning views to Walter Bailey sculptures via local produce in our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Surrey farmers, rural life and local produce
- Writers and artists escape to the Surrey Hills
- The battle to save Surrey’s Green Belt