Last week saw the official handover of Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve to Surrey County Council. This much-loved wildlife haven on the outskirts of Farnham saw its long-term future safeguarded when a partnership of six councils came together in December 2021 to purchase the site and protect it as a natural space.
Surrey County Council acquired the site from Hanson UK with funding support from Hampshire County Council, Guildford Borough Council, Waverley Borough Council, Rushmoor Borough Council and Farnham Town Council. The 55 hectare (137 acre) former quarry site which is fully restored as a nature reserve now forms part of the Surrey County Council countryside estate.
The official handover was not only an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the long-term future of Tice’s Meadow but also to understand the vital role the Tice’s Meadow Bird Group play in the conservation of the site and the tireless work of local volunteers.
Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council said: “It is an honour to be a part of the successful partnership Surrey County Council has formed with five other councils, with our shared vision to protect and enhance the natural environment. It is our ambition to work collaboratively with partners to protect our environment and invest in climate change.
“I would like to recognise the valuable work of the Tice’s Meadow Bird Group and local volunteers whose dedication ensure this site will continue to be a haven for wildlife, and a wonderful open space for everyone to enjoy recreationally.”
Paul Williams, Head of Land and Mineral Resources at Hanson UK, said:
“Hanson UK are committed to conserving and enhancing nature before, during and after mineral extraction. Tice’s Meadow – on the site of our former Farnham quarry – is an exemplar of the biodiversity uplift and community benefits that can be achieved through progressive restoration after quarrying has finished. Going forward we know it’s in expert hands”.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Marisa Heath and Director of Environment Carolyn McKenzie planted a Bird Cherry tree (prunus padus) and unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
Tice’s Meadow is widely considered one of the best inland sites to watch birds in the southeast of England. As well as a circular ‘biodiversity’ trail within the site there are also footpath links to Tongham Pools and the Blackwater Valley giving the opportunity for visitors to explore wildlife and the natural environment.
For further information on Tice’s Meadow including volunteer opportunities visit their website Tice’s Meadow (ticesmeadow.org).
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