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Snaky Lane Wildlife Area

Nature reserve

Snaky Lane pondSnaky Lane is one of the few areas of unimproved grassland in the area comprising two distinct areas of mixed grassland, each one managed under different mowing regimes in order to maintain the rich floral mix. As the grass re-growth is managed it is hoped that the wildflower population will increase with a corresponding increase in insect populations.

In 2008 part of the site was fenced and two Highland Cattle introduced over the winter months to graze the area as part of an ongoing traditional management regime to remove some of the rough Sheep at Snaky Lane grasses and coarse scrub and improve the wildflower numbers. They were taken off the site in February 2008, then re-introduced once again in September 2009 and joined by 10 Beulah Speckled Face ewe lambs. Cattle and sheep graze in different ways which will help speed up the improvement of the grassland. Both the cattle and the sheep remained on site over the winter. 

In 2010 two new Highland Cattle, Callum and Franny, pictured right, were brought to the site along with six Welsh Beulah Speckled Face and Snaky Lane Highland CattleBadger Face sheep, pictured right, to continue the grazing regime.

Once again both cattle and sheep came on to the site in September 2011.

The site is open access and contains:

  • acidic grassland
  • newly planted trees
  • hedges
  • pond.

Owned by Guildford Borough Council it is now managed by local residents, the Snaky Lane Community Wildlife Group, with support from the BVCP.

Brief history

The area known as Snaky Lane was once the property of the Abbot of Chertsey Abbey when he was the Lord of the Manor of Ash. He was given the land in 1323 by a William Souter.

By 1871 the area had been incorporated into Lynchford Castle Farm, which covered a total of 70 acres and belonged to a James Nash. The road through Mr Nash’s farm was name as Stratford Road in a list prepared for Ash Parish Council in 1907, although it was known locally as Snaky Lane, we don’t know why.

Snaky Lane Community Wildlife Group

Members of Snaky Lane Community GroupFirst established in the 1990s to manage the site, but disbanded due to lack of support, this group was reformed in 2005 to carry out practical management work. This includes cutting and raking the grassland, scrub clearance, hedge planting, opening up views to the pond and establishing a footpath.

Location

Located in the very north-west corner of Guildford Borough, it is bordered on two sides by Stratford Road and Meadow Close.

Further information

  • Article about Snaky Lane in the Winter 2006/7 BV News
  • Would you like to get involved? Contact George Frater on 01252 331353 or by e-mail

 See also the map of the Valley