A brief history of Cranleigh’s conservation area – known as Beryl Harvey Field. It was originally part of Coldharbour Farm and given to Cranleigh Parish Council in 1970 by Mr Gordon Harvey, in memory of his wife, for the use and enjoyment of the people of Cranleigh and District, as an open space and/or allotments.
Initially, the whole field was used as allotments but by 1986 many were neglected. The remaining plots were consolidated in the lower part of the field. At the suggestion of John Hill, who founded the Cranleigh and District Conservation Volunteers, the Parish council agreed to support the creation of a wildlife conservation area on the upper part of the field. This is entirely consistent with Mr Harvey’s wishes.
At a time when Cranleigh is under huge pressure to develop surrounding green fields, this conservation area is very precious.
The list of wild flowers which can now flourish on the field throughout the year number almost one hundred. In July, betony, lady’s bedstraw, bird’sfoot trefoil, meadow vetchling, wood avens, perforate St John’s wort, gypsywort, sneezewort, agrimony, purple loosestrife and musk mallow can be found.
Common Spotted Orchid
The ending ‘wort’ which is pronounced wert and not wart, is old English for ‘root’ (wyrt) and is generally used for the names of plants which were thought to have medicinal properties.
Bird’s foot trefoil particularly attracts butterflies – look out for meadow brown, gatekeeper and red admiral. Eighteen varieties of butterfly have been recorded on the site.
Try and make time to Walk on the Wild side this month.
Written by: Miki Marks
Help out with the Conservation Group the next dates for your diary for 2016 are:
- 12 June
- 10 July
- 14 August
- 11 September
- 9 October
- 13 November
- 11 December
The Group meets at 10am on the Beryl Harvey Field and usually work for a couple of hours. You can stay for as long as you can.
Read more about the Beryl Harvey Conservation Field: