Volunteering with the National Trust at Denbies, Dorking

23rd March 2020

On Wednesday 4th March 2020, BCM volunteered for the National trust at Denbies Hillside, in Dorking, Surrey. Owned and managed by the National Trust, Denbies Hillside is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is an excellent example of chalk grassland which is very rare in north west Europe. Chalk grassland is unique in that it attracts a mixture of grasses, wild flowers and herbs with very few shrubs or trees. It only occurs on thin, nutrient poor and well drained soil which lies on top of porous chalk bedrock. Cattle and sheep are brought in from nearby farms to maintain the area.

This was part of BCM Construction’s commitment to promote biodiversity and support local community groups as part of their boundary fencing contract for client Network Rail. The fencing immediately bordered the Denibies Hillside reserve managed by the National Trust.

Did you know?

Adders, rare butterflies, Roman Snails, Orchids, Kestrels and more can be found at this site

“Volunteering is a great way to engage our workforce and carry out team building whilst engaging in important conservation works close to our work sites.”
Jenny Peters, Environment & Sustainability Manager

The Deliverables:
Scrub bashing – involved pulling young plants and clematis up in short scrub to open up areas for grazing. We did this by hand and using hand tools. A small controlled fire was then set up on site to manage the cut vegetation.

The Benefits:
Scrub bashing in this area ensures that cattle can graze the land and keep the vegetation under control. This in turn helps to maintain the unique status of this countryside area for the benefit of wildlife and visitors.

Outputs and Benefits:

  • We were made a positive difference to biodiversity at the site
  • We were able to support a trust that relies on donations and volunteers to help with key conservation management
  • It was a great team building exercise for our staff