Friends of Thursley Common
The Wardening Scheme set up by Friends of Thursley Common has now swung into action. During the month following Easter 18 new wardens have put in nearly 100 hours on the common. We are volunteers with Natural England, and we are identified by our own logo and branded bright blue clothing. We are on the lookout for anything which threatens the Reserve and its rare species such as fire, vandalism or antisocial behaviour.
Our purpose is to provide friendly faces on the common helping, guiding and informing visitors how best to enjoy their stay, but at the same time to urge suitable control of dogs which can disturb precious wildlife, make sure they are aware of fire risk and not to hesitate to dial 999 if they see even the smallest outbreak. Fire is a constant threat to our local commons and with an increasing number of visitors ever more likely. Apart from last year’s 120-hectare blaze at Thursley, there have also been recent fires on Frensham and Hankley Commons.
Pictured are the founders of Friends of Thursley Common, from left, Alan Froggatt and Michelle deVries (Thursley), Martin Andrews (Elstead) and Neil Baker (Churt) who together with Janet Thomson (Milford) are steering this new initiative.
I do hope that if you share our passion for protecting our wild places with their beauty, rare and valuable species you would consider becoming a Friend or a Warden.
We have made a good start with 130+ friends on Facebook and 20 wardens already active. We are currently operating two hour shifts through the day (8:00 till 18:00) on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays with two wardens per shift. The new wardens have found their stints very enjoyable and are looking forward to deepening their knowledge of the many rare plant and wildlife species that thrive there.
Commenting on progress James Giles, the Natural England Reserve manager, said “I am really grateful for the extra resource this scheme will bring to help me and my colleagues with our work. I hope they all come to love the Reserve as I have over many years here”.