Surrey news and views - your letters - February 2016

PUBLISHED: 14:43 03 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:57 03 February 2016

The stunning landscape of Chobham Common holds many secrets if you know where to look (Photo Robin Castle / Getty Images / iStockphoto)

The stunning landscape of Chobham Common holds many secrets if you know where to look (Photo Robin Castle / Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Robin Castle / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Win a meal for two at one of five top Surrey pubs by sharing your thoughts with us at

Nothing stirs up debate quite like the history of Surrey's borders (Photo Hemera Technologies / Getty Images)Nothing stirs up debate quite like the history of Surrey's borders (Photo Hemera Technologies / Getty Images)

Win a meal for two at one of Surrey’s top pubs!

If you’d like to see your letter printed in Surrey Life, write to us at the usual address or send an e-mail to Every month, the writer of our Star Letter will win a dinner for two, up to the value of £50, at one of the five Surrey pubs run by Red Mist Leisure, who are passionate about fresh food, local produce and the perfect pint. The latest addition to the family is The Cock Inn at Headley, which reopened in March after some much-needed TLC to return this lovely country pub to its former glory. The prize is available from Monday to Thursday and booking is required. For more on Red Mist Leisure, see




Star letter

Our countryside at risk

Having read the excellent article by Andy Smith on the threats to the Green Belt in Surrey (Surrey Life, October), I am writing on behalf of the East Surrey Badger Protection Society to give our full support to Mr Smith’s concerns that we agree with wholeheartedly.

We have experienced over the last few years a substantial increase in local residents contacting us, concerned about the impact of house¬building applications on wildlife and asking us for an assessment on how such developments might impact the local badger population. It has got to the point now where we, as a small wildlife charity, are unable to cope with all these requests and have had to prioritise them.

The relentless pressure for more housing is without doubt having a negative impact on wildlife and the quality of people’s lives – and unless the demand side is also addressed, building hundreds of thousands of more houses every year is simply unsustainable. As the population continues to increase, particularly in the south¬east, house¬building is the equivalent of a dog chasing its tail. Whereas this boils down to a simple equation and is little more than common sense, this seems to elude all political parties and most of the media so Surrey Life is to be congratulated on the publication of this article.

I have little doubt that the sentiments expressed in the article by Mr Smith echo the vast majority of people who live in Surrey. England is becoming more and more crowded and less and less like a ‘green and pleasant’ land every day.

Raymond Ings,


East Surrey Badger Protection Society

Editor’s note: Thank you so much for your letter of support, Raymond. It’s certainly something that we feel very strongly about here at Surrey Life, and you’re right that it’s of great concern to many of our readers too. As such, we are making you this month’s Star Letter, meaning you win a delicious dinner for two at one of the fine Surrey pubs run by Red Mist Leisure. All best wishes, Caroline


Surrey and its neighbours

Dear Editor,

Please pass on my heartfelt support to Andrew Raynham of Esher who wrote the Star Letter in your Christmas edition (Surrey Life, December).

I had cause to write to you some years ago now because I felt the magazine was misrepresenting Surrey and its residents by including such towns as Kingston, Richmond and Croydon.

Once again, you have made the missive from Andrew the Star Letter thereby perhaps trying to sweeten him into going along with your reasoning for including these ex¬Surrey towns.

Surrey is a beautiful county and there are so many places that SHOULD be included that aren’t because of the continued inclusion of such towns as those mentioned.

Why would anyone on the Surrey borders want to know about Croydon etc when they too have wonderful county towns such as Guildford, Farnham and Dorking?

Perhaps Surrey-ites might like to read about towns in Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. No, of course, we don’t. There’s too much to learn about Surrey towns without going over its borders into outer suburbia.

Please reconsider your outdated perception that we wish to know about outer London towns. Please give more space to OUR towns.

Pamela Bulman,

Via e-mail

Editor’s note: Thank you very much for your e-mail, Pamela, and I completely understand your view. It’s just that, throughout the magazine’s history, it has always included some ‘old Surrey’ towns, because many readers live there and others enjoy visiting. We do, however, try to ensure that most of our content is Surrey ‘proper’, so hopefully plenty there to enjoy. All best wishes, Caroline


Nothing common about this place

Dear Editor,

I have recently been busy researching the history of Chobham Common and thought fellow readers might be interested in hearing a bit about what I have found out.

Looking at Chobham Common today, be it walking, with dogs or horse riding, the vegetation is the obvious scenery, with Surrey Wildlife Trust conserving the landscape to its natural, heathland ecology through rangers and volunteers. But what of the terrain itself?

Well, over the years, man has had a major impact, whether we are able to see it today or not, on the landscape of Chobham Common and its history. Firstly, there are the obvious features that can be traced to pre-history – barrows etc – and then others to medieval times, such as the Bee Garden, the Fishpool, Glover’s Pond and Gracious Pond before it was drained (but still leaves a significant feature on the landscape).

However, there are four more recent events that have shaped how we see Chobham Common today: the Great Camp of 1853 and earthworks put up by the Royal Sappers and Miners – and its aftermath, the ‘Treacle Mine’; the Autumn Manoeuvres of 1871 and the redoubts constructed for the quaintly-named Battle of Chobham Common; World War One practice trenching in 1915; and armoured vehicle training before and during World War Two with the tank testing and evaluation of captured German and Italian tanks. All these have left their mark over the years.

If you’d like to learn more about the fascinating history of the common, Man’s Influence on Chobham Common is now available to read online at: Many of the features are readily visible today – you just have to know what you are looking for. Try it and see!

Best wishes,

Graham Webster,

Via e-mail


A voyage of discovery

Dear Editor,

I felt compelled to write, as one of your colleagues (a lovely helpful man, but I didn’t get his name!) kindly sent me the September edition of Surrey Life because I enquired about the ‘Surrey Rich List’, which was replaced by your ‘Surrey Icons’ feature, for my work at the University of Surrey.

I have never read your magazine before and it is fantastic! As a Compton resident and former employee of the Watts Gallery, I was delighted by your welcome, which confirmed my belief that Compton is one of Surrey’s best-kept secrets, and I thought the photography was beautiful throughout.

I intend to subscribe immediately and I look forward to discovering so much more about my surrounding area.

Best wishes,

Charlotte Wilson,


Editor’s note: Thanks so much for your kind words, Charlotte; you have really made our day! For anyone else interested in subscribing, you can find out more about our latest money-saving offer (which includes free delivery to any UK address) here.


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