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Pewley Meadows Preserved ‘In Perpetuity’ As Purchase Is Completed

Published on: 4 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 5 Nov, 2021

Campaigners and all involved were delighted and relieved when purchase of 37.5 acres of rare chalk grassland on the North Down on Pewley Down Fields, now to be called Pewley Meadows, was completed on Tuesday, October 12.

Pewley Down Fields.

The land was saved from developers when local campaigners rushed into action to raise more than £1 million in just three weeks to buy it for the community.

The meadows, with their spectacular views across the county, are home to nesting skylarks, chalkhill blue butterflies, bumblebees, wild thyme and orchids.

See Dreams Of Developers Destroyed As Campaigners Buy Pewley Down Fields

The land is under a 500-year lease to Surrey Wildlife Trust, which also contributed to the purchase. It will be managed by the trust with help from local conservationists and volunteers. A new nature reserve will be created to preserve the land in perpetuity for wildlife and people.

Male chalkhill blue on Pewley Down.

Julia Stephenson, lead donor, said: “I grew up on these beautiful chalk downlands and so I love these meadows as much as the local community. And we shared this same strength of conviction that we knew we just had to do something to protect this wonderful landscape for future generations. To think that we have now achieved that goal feels amazing.”

Julia’s generosity followed in family footsteps, as her mother bought neighbouring chalk downland, now Rosamund Meadows, to save for nature in 1985.

Jonathan Mitchell, one of the campaigners who won the battle for the land, said: “We need to do our utmost to protect such special places for future generations.

‘Since 1945, the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows, so this is a precious opportunity to reduce this loss and restore the rich biodiversity that can thrive on chalk downland.”

The chief executive of Surrey Wildlife Trust, Sarah Jane Chimbwandira, said: “We are extremely grateful to community environmental campaigners in Guildford who have restored a missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle in the landscape for natures recovery.

“Pewley Meadows fills in the gap between Pewley Down Local Nature Reserve and Rosamund Meadows and creates a swathe of 80 acres of precious habitat, which is at the very heart of Surrey’s nature recovery network.”

The head teacher of Holy Trinity Pewley Down School, Clare Brunet, said: “We are over the moon that an area of Pewley Meadows will become an incredibly special new outdoor learning resource for the school.

“The fields can teach us not only about carbon storage, but also about the wildflowers, bees, butterflies and beetles that live there, how to care for them and help their populations expand. I must extend a huge thank you to our wonderful families and the community who have given so generously to enable this to happen.”

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