Showing posts from May, 2022

The paths less travelled

This is the first in an occasional series of posts that will visit some of the least travelled footpaths that are out there and waiting to be explored. Many of them will have no obvious merit to the naturalist, but, with a lit bit of time being spent along them, all will open up and reveal their treasure! So, as a starter, let us walk along Freedown Lane in Banstead... The Freedown is an area of Banstead Downs that was selected by a group of worthy late-Victorians to build, what they called, a lunatic asylum. Banstead Mental Hospital closed in the late 20th century, with the land being sold to the Home Office. Two high security prisons were then constructed on site - incarceration of a different kind. Freedown Lane (FL) is accessed from the B2218 that runs from Banstead to Belmont. FL is a narrow road that soon becomes an unmade track, the very few houses that are present sharing their space with horse paddocks. If arriving by car, it is best not to park along the lane, with the closes

The art and reason of blogging...

I was given a wake-up call yesterday, when visiting a pub (The Dolphin at Betchworth), whilst out on a long walk with my brother-in-law Bill. As we stood at the bar, I glanced through into the room beyond  and spied somebody who I used to work with (seemingly in a previous life). Beers purchased, I went to say hello to Sandy, who I hadn't seen for seven years. It was lovely to make contact again, and to meet her twin sister. She then introduced me to the other couple at their table - Alan and his wife (who I have shamefully not remembered her name). Alan stood up and shook my hand - he is an avid reader of this very blog. I was, of course, flattered. He then mentioned that some of my posts had alerted him to the presence of various footpaths, the large Brambling flocks near Reigate... it made me realise that blog posting sometimes has a positive end result, beyond my scratching of an ego. It also got me thinking of the audience that it might well reach. Sometimes it can be easy to

Surrey 5km bird race

Back in March, Ed Stubbs announced the launch of a Surrey-based bird race, to take part on May 7th. The rules were simple: between 00.00hrs - 18.00hrs observers were asked to record as many species as possible within a 5km radius of a nominated point. The use of 'green' transport - foot or bike - was encouraged. Solo birders or gathered teams were both welcome. I was, of course, in! So, where would my nominated point be? The most obvious starting place would be my home in Banstead. I would then be able to carry out the whole day 'on foot'. I started to look at a route, which would, by necessity, have to take in the very few limited water bodies within that area. There was a downside - there would be plenty of walking through areas that would not, in all honesty, hold much. There was also a wish to be spending the day in an area that might hold a few surprises, be they untrodden footpaths, unvisited tracts of land and stunning scenery - in the end I plumped for Colley Hi