This Site of Special Scientific Interest was designated for its botanical interest and includes not just the area of Common Land owned by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, but also two extra units to the west and south-east which are privately-owned, the one to the west lying within Mole Valley District.
It encompasses a range of habitats including open heath and acidic grassland, with some areas where Bracken Pteridium aquilinum, Silver Birch Betula pendula, Oak Quercus robur and Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris have become dominant. The site also includes Alder Alnus glutinosa woodland, and within the eastern boundary, some formerly marshy meadows.
A small hill of the Lower Greensand series bears sandy acidic soils which support the heath and oak woodland. The remainder of the site lies over alluvium, overlain in turn by peat in the meadows.
The heath is composed of Ling Calluna vulgaris, Bell Heather Erica cinerea,Common Gorse Ulex europaeus and Dwarf Gorse Ulex minor. Wetter areas now support Marsh Pennywort Hydrocotyle vulgaris, Cross-leaved Heath Erica tetralix and several species of Sphagnum moss.
The acid grassland areas are some of the finest in the county. Many plants of sandy soils, such as Upright Chickweed Moenchia erecta, Knotted Clover Trifolium striatum, Bird’s-foot Clover T. ornithopodioides, and the rarities Annual Knawel Scleranthus annuus and Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile are found here on the cricket pitch and golf fairways.
For the SSSI boundary map, please click here.
For the SSSI citation, please click here.