Whilst looking at an OS map of northern Surrey, it struck me how all of my regular natural history patches were joined together by a geographical umbilical chord, running south-west to north-east over a distance of maybe 15 miles. Within this wiggling line can be found chalk downland, heathland, deciduous woodland, farmland, sand pits, rivers, sewage farm and urban sprawl. I like to think of it as one big - 'uber' - patch.
I have watched this area since 1974, at first only birdwatching, then drawing in other natural history disciplines, particularly those of lepidoptera and botany. Since 2010 I have tried my hand with fungi, lichens, mosses and invertebrates, with, it must be admitted, mixed success.
The OS map shows footpaths criss-crossing much land within this uber patch that have escaped the roving eye of a naturalist. I am intrigued enough to dedicate most of my natural history leisure time to finding out what lives within it. It is also a way of improving my base level knowledge in groups that require that extra bit of effort to become truly proficient.
Please click on the map below to see what I'm going on about...