Saturday, 30 November 2013
Return to Priest Hill
A month ago I posted about a visit to Surrey Wildlife Trust's newest reserve, Priest Hill, only a mile from my home. It wasn't a positive post as I moaned about fencing and lack of access. Today I returned, determined to be a bit more positive!
Belted Galloway cattle are now on site and are being used to chomp away at the dense grass sward that covers the vast majority of the area. I circumnavigated the reserve, and started to feel the first fingers of positivity prodding me. My mood was lightened further when I was in conversation with a couple of local dog-walkers. They explained that, if the gate to a large field was padlocked, then entry was not permitted (due to cattle being present or management work being undertaken). However, if there was no padlock on the gate then access was permissible. If this is the case then I'm happy, as such access will open up areas to look for plants and insects. Birding on site will not be a problem whatever the access, as the habitat is open, with uninterrupted views across the site. No shrike or hunting owl can hide here!
On a dull, late November morning there wasn't much to see. But time and effort will surely reward the observer. It's so close to home that it would be criminal not to make regular visits.