A new future for Surrey’s countryside estate
As public landowners, Surrey County Council are responding to the opportunity to increase the contribution of their countryside assets to tackle nature loss and climate change, alongside public access and recreation.
Rural Solutions have worked with the Council to shape their response to this opportunity, looking initially at Norbury Park, a 1,340 acre area of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and now several more sites are under consideration for environmental enhancement and to host associated visitor facilities.
To create a vision for land management and associated delivery plans for Norbury Park, a 130-acre farm, a recreational and community facility, and a canal-side residential site with the potential for reuse.
Starting with an appraisal of Norbury Park, we have worked with the Council’s Natural Capital team, their tenant farmers and stakeholders, including the Wildlife Trust and the local community to create a vision for the future of Norbury Park.
Following public consultation, a detailed options appraisal to consider the implications of different decisions and configurations of land use has been undertaken to determine the optimum solution. With input from rewilding pioneers at Knepp, opportunities have been identified including the reuse of a redundant sawmill, restoration of wood pasture and river meadow, restoration, and conservation management of chalk grassland for skylarks, lapwings, grey partridge and brown hairstreak butterfly, and woodland creation.
A similar approach to identifying and comparing options across other sites is helping to shape innovative strategies that will see the Surrey County Council’s 14,000-acre land-based estate evolve to balance natural capital with access and community benefits.
With support from the Surrey County Council cabinet and local MPs, work is ongoing with detailed plans taking shape and the selection of delivery partner organisations is under way. Rural Solutions has been retained to help bring these exciting plans to fruition.
Natural capital baselining at Castle Howard
Supporting the transition to a land management approach to protect and regenerate the 9,000 acre site for future generations, with a science-led natural capital baselining exercise.