The Lower Mole Countryside Trust provided funding for volunteers from the Lower Mole Partnership to make dormouse boxes. Brockham Quarry was chosen as the latest site to benefit and 10 boxes were installed during a visit on 12 July 2022.
Hazel dormice are hard to spot – they live high in trees, only come out at night and are also found in very few places in the UK. They build nests out of grass and leaves ready for the female to give birth to up to seven young.
In autumn, dormice start looking for the perfect spot to hibernate for winter. They often choose to sleep in logs or leaves at the base of trees or just beneath the ground, where they can avoid the winter cold.
They won’t brave open spaces and need trees or undergrowth cover to travel between sites. These arboreal corridors are of extreme importance in aiding their spread. Although Brockham Quarry has no record of dormice they are frequently recorded in surrounding areas and the boxes will be monitored and the data added to give a clearer picture of their distribution and inform future management of the site.
Directors and members of the Lower Mole Countryside Trust joined the Lower Mole Partnership in attending Ashtead Village Day on Saturday 11 June 2022. The weather was kind and there was a carnival atmosphere, perhaps because this was the first year the fair had been staged since the Covid pandemic.
It was a great opportunity to publicise the work of both the Partnership and the Trust. We received a lot of attention and approval by routing house signs from off-cuts of wood from our regular sign making and repurposing old walk signs.
All profits go to the Trust to provide more grants to help improve the environment through practical conservation projects throughout the North Surrey and Kingston upon Thames area.
Who we are looking for, to join the Board as Treasurer
The last 2 years have been a challenge for the Trust as it has been for everyone in the country. We have had to face the difficulties of working remotely and adjusting our existing practices. Coupled with that, our long term Chairman and Treasurer both retired in 2021.
We are determined to look on these challenges as an opportunity to evolve and are looking at how we can fulfil the aims of the Trust by recruiting Directors with relevant experience and from diverse backgrounds to help us meet our aims and key performance indicators.
In a Treasurer we are looking for someone with financial expertise, knowledge of financial packages and procedures and who is computer literate. Of great importance to us is the commitment any applicant has to the aims of the Trust and a willingness to work with the other Directors to take the Trust forward to ensure that we access funds to ensure the continued good work the Trust carries out and to widen the scope of its activities.
Role of the Treasurer
The Treasurer must formally become a trustee and the duties include the following:
Monitor the income and expenditure and prepare figures for board meetings
Manage the grants scheme
Report on grants given and current applications at board meetings
Prepare annual accounts and summarised versions
Prepare and supply accounts for Companies House and Charity Commission
Write the financial aspect of the Annual Report
Manage Trust members’ finances. The vast majority of members pay by direct debit.
We are a small charity but the role of the Treasurer complies with the requirements of the Charity Commission and guidelines can be found at www.honorarytreasurers.org.uk .
To contact the Trust to show interest in this role please either:
Over the last few years, the Lower Mole Partnership (LMP) has been working to restore an area of chalk grassland known as Young Street Conservation Verge. Supported by Mole Valley DC initially and especially the Lower Mole Countryside Trust (LMCT), which has awarded several important grants to allow the work to continue, the site has been transformed into a high quality chalk grassland with great numbers of plants and particularly butterflies.
In the early 2000s, LMP volunteers had cleared the scrub along Young Street conservation verge and installed a new tractor access so the area could be maintained by SCC Countryside Estate. However, the maintenance stopped soon after and the scrub returned. Following conversations with Mole Valley DC in 2017 about managing good quality verges, LMP resolved to tackle this area again.
Volunteers hard at work 2018
In February 2017 LMP returned to Young Street Conservation Verge. Since then LMP has had several volunteer tasks aimed at clearing the scrub and mowing the resultant grass sward every autumn to restore the chalk downland. This has involved cutting back established scrub and small trees including birch, buckthorn and hawthorn, to open up the surviving grass sward below. Volunteers used bowsaws, loppers, and brushcutters to clear the scrub, with the stumps being removed by chainsaw, while all the brash was fed into a chipper to dispose of it. Pesticide was the applied to the stumps to reduce the regrowth the following year and the large meadow mower has been used to take a late season cut of the sward each autumn. Since 2017, Volunteers have given 641 volunteer hours to help clear 1ha of scrub and mow and rake the same area each autumn. Each year the open grassland sward and the biodiversity has increased.
The downland mown and raked late summer 2018
The result has been staggering with many chalk downland butterflies and wildflowers responding to the new regime. This included in 2018, over 200 spikes of pyramidal orchid! Other plants include Field scabious, St johns Wort, Agrimony, Creeping cinquefoil, Wild strawberry, Bladder campion, Ox-eye daisy, and Wild marjoram. Butterfly species recorded here include common blue, brown argus, small copper, brimstone, small heath, dingy skipper and grizzled skipper, while banded demoiselles have also been recorded.
The verge in full flower summer 2019
SCC Ecologist, John Edwards, recently described the site as “fantastic”. He said “Looking at the verge, I have no doubt it would meet the favourable status we used for monitoring, it has a really good range of species. I was really not expecting that it would look so good so do pass the message on to the team”. The work would not have been possible without the support of MVDC and LMCT who have funded the works. The LMCT has provided grants of £1700 over the last five years. The Lower Mole Partnership would like to thank the Lower Mole Countryside Trust for their support in carrying out this restoration, which has allowed this wonderful project to succeed.
Common Blue butterfly(Helen Middlemas)
(Many thanks to Helen Middlemas who has regularly visited the site to photograph and record the plants and butterflies)
The Trust attended the Epsom & Ewell Fair, on 15th September, and as well as telling people about the work of the Trust and the Partnership, organised two craft activities for children, including making leaf masks and “Gods’ eyes”.
Over the last three years LMP volunteers have cleared 0.9ha of scrub from this rich sward, which has seen the return of cowslips and orchids and increased butterfly recordings Previously, the work has been funded by MVDC and LMCT. The Trust has agreed a grant of £1200 to fund theLMP to clear the scrub in the remaining section of this valuable habitat and cut any scrub regrowth in the previously cleared areas this autumn.
Owing to the success of the last tree poppers that the LMP purchased they have made another successful bid to purchase two more for a total of £594. These are great tools enabling volunteers to pull out the roots of small trees, so no need to re-cut or treat with chemicals!