Outside body

Surrey Countryside Partnerships Board (Downlands Countryside Management Project)


Aim of the organisation: The aims of the Project encompass the whole range of countryside management activities relating to access, landscape, biodiversity, sustainability, and information, restoration/improvements, outreach and community involvement.

Brief history: The Downlands Countryside Management Project was established in May 1988 to provide a quality urban fringe countryside service, enhancing the environment for people and wildlife. It is a partnership Project, hosted by Surrey County Council, with five other funding Council partners. It is also supported by Natural England. Its area of operation covers greenbelt countryside in northeast Surrey and adjoining parts of South London.

The rolling chalk hills and associated valleys give rise to stunning scenery. Sheep (Beulah Speckled Face, Jacob & Herdwick), British feral goats, Sussex cattle and Dartmoor Ponies successfully graze the chalk Downland, as part of a long-term management regime.

The Project manages land across the Project area, as part of Natural England’s Higher Level Scheme as well as land in the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Grant Scheme. The Project area contains a variety of habitats and features, but is dominated by the important and threatened chalk Downlands habitat found on the scarp and dip slopes of the North Downs. The Downlands Project has been extremely successful in achieving a wide range of countryside improvements and generating support and involvement in practical action from local communities.