Quarry Hangars NR, between Merstham and Chaldon, Surrey ... 26th June 2011

My wife, Sue, and I decided to have a stroll at a Surrey Wildlife Trust nature reserve on the southern face of the North Downs, not far from where we live. Referring to the 'southern face' makes it sound a bit like the Eiger and there are similarities.

Parking in the aptly named Springbottom Lane (you need a spring in your bottom to climb the path to the top of the reserve) we entered the reserve via a kissing gate. The steps up the slope are daunting especially if, like me, hip joints are past their best.

Fifteen minutes of huffing and puffing and resting to let the pain subside saw us reach the top of the slope. One small step for man - one giant leap for a pair of old gits!

Don't be fooled by this photo - it's a lot steeper than it looks.

The view from the top is pretty impressive.

Birdwise, this is not a very productive site with only a male Kestrel and a few Goldfinches and Robins seen. Sue thought she may have seen a Tree Sparrow briefly and I guess that it is not impossible given the habitat, but a stake-out of the area failed to produce any further sightings.

Given the lack of birds, our attention turned to the plants, butterflies, moths and insects.
There were a few Marbled Whites on the wing along with a couple of Ringlets and numerous Meadow Browns.

A single Small Heath completed the butterfly list.

The moths and insects were interesting but, being no expert, identifying them is always a bit of a challenge for me.

Downland Conch Aethes tesserana

Common Plume Moth
Emmelina monodactyla (there were loads of these about)

Black-striped Longhorn Beetle (male) Stenurella melanura

Cryptocephalus coryli

Green Dock Beetles Gastrophysa viridula ('misbehaving')

The only orchid I could find was this single Pyramidal but the area has recently been grazed by sheep.

Dwarf Thistle is quite abundant along with Weld, Rosemary, Field Scabious and Wild Thyme. Loads of other plants were present but I haven't a clue what they all were.

A couple of interesting fungi were present. The first is Jelly-ear and I think the second is Glistening Inkcap but, as with all my plant and insect identifications, I could be wrong.

By now, it was getting pretty hot and uncomfortable so we creaked our way back down the steps to the car.

Back home in time for the Formula One. I watched the start and remember seeing lap eleven and then snored my way through to lap fifty-one! Good race (what I saw of it!)

Graham & Sue


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  2. thank you for sharing. i have often wanted to visit this place for calm quiet reflection time. i shall make a day of it very soon after reading your lovely post