Fungus Foray

About 20 people attended a fungus foray led by Dr Brian Spooner, who was, until he retired, Head of Mycology at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Some 50 different fungi were found and identified (not including microfungi!) and everyone was fascinated and entertained by the immense knowledge that Dr Spooner brought to the event.


Lots of photographs were taken (see below) and a dozen of them sent to Dr Spooner who provided the following identification:

1 Ganoderma adspersum (shelf/bracket fungus)

2 Hericium cirrhatum (tiered tooth)

3 Phallus impudicus (common stinkhorn)

4 Hygrocybe coccinea (scarlet waxcap)

5 Amanita muscaria (fly agaric)

6 Lycoperdon perlatum (common puffball)


7 Armillaria mellea (honey fungus)

8 Laccaria amethystina (amethyst deceiver)

9 Kuehneromyces mutabilis (sheathed woodtuft)

10 Pholiota adiposa (no common name)

11 Mycena arcangeliana (angel’s bonnet)

12 Clitocybe geotropa (trooping funnel)




Box Hill road closure

At very short notice we have been advised that work is being undertaken by Thames Water to repair a sewer in Box Hill. Box Hill Road is closed by Chestnut Lodge farm, which is about half a mile before the Smith & Western restaurant when coming from Box Hill village. This means vehicle access to and from the National Trust centre will be only possible via the Zig Zag. The work commenced on Tuesday, 9th October and may take up to two weeks depending on the scale of the repair work needed!

Saving Surrey’s Straw Belles

The Straw Belle moth is now restricted to the North Downs and is found at just one site in Surrey, on National Trust land at Box Hill. It also occurs on a few sites in Kent. Even at Box Hill it is restricted to a small area, where it needs a varied chalk sward providing a range of conditions from bare ground and the short turf ‘hotspots’ needed by larvae, through to grass tussocks and scattered scrub that provide shelter for the adults.

In recent years volunteers from Butterfly Conservation have worked alongside NT to undertake management at Box Hill to secure and enhance the moth’s population.  Cattle grazing was introduced at Box Hill in autumn 2013 using Belted Galloways from the Surrey Wildlife Trust herd, and a close eye has been kept on the effects of this on the vulnerable moth population. Cattle were excluded from part of the slope until we were confident that they would not overgraze it. Adult numbers of Straw Belle have remained stable under the new grazing regime.

Grazing pressure has varied over the slope, and last year it was evident that the top edge was becoming too dense and tussocky in places, so some small patches of the densest grass, a few metres in diameter, were strimmed and raked off to enable smaller plants, including Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Fairy Flax, thought to be among the Straw Belle’s larval foodplants, to grow and flower. 

This has been successful, and in February this year, on the day when Storm Doris made being out on Box Hill a bracing experience, the new Surrey and SW London Branch conservation volunteer group helped NT assistant ranger Francisco to create further patches.

(from an article by Gail Jeffcoate)

Summer BBQ

The Friends Summer BBQ was once again held in David Kennington’s garden – and the rain held off after a threatening cloudy start.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves with several new members joining us and many long-standing members getting up to date with each others news.

David Kennington had already retired from NT earlier in the year and the Friends took this opportunity to thank David for his contribution to Box Hill over more than 30 years and wish him well for his future.  Lyn presented him with a certificate to give him honorary lifetime membership of the FOBH and with a model of Broadwood’s Tower carved from the Holm Oak that had been growing inside the tower.


Model carved by Iain Hamilton Crafer.

Adonis Blue

Adonis Blue butterflies are out and about on Box Hill (or at least they were until today’s downpour!).  Just in case you’ve missed them here’s a couple of great photos taken by our long term volunteer Francisco while out with his team of volunteers last week.  Good to see our scrub bashing and cattle grazing is providing a good environment for the horseshoe vetch to flourish.

Fly Orchids on Box Hill

All the hard work by the Rangers and volunteers is rewarded by seeing the increase in flora and fauna on Box Hill, especially when somethings as rare and beautiful as the fly orchid puts in an appearance.  This year several have been seen and a good increase on previous occasional sightings.

Fly Orchid


Over 65 people attended the FOBH AGM on Saturday.  The Chairman and Treasurer’s reports were presented and accepted and the current committee was re-elected en bloc.  The Chairman mentioned in her report that whilst in Stratford upon Avon she had visited New Place, Shakespeare’s home for many years, and was amazed at the bronze sculpture of Box Hill’s well known Hawthorn tree which is sadly no more on Box Hill but lives on in spirit at New Place.

Reports were then presented by the NT Lead Ranger, Mark Dawson, the Box Hill Ranger, David Benjamins, and the Box Hill Education Officer, Catherine McCusker.

At the end of the AGM the Friends were asked to approve giving life membership of the Friends to David Kennington, NT General Manager for the Surrey Hills, who is about to retire and has been a strong supporter of FOBH during his long career at NT.  Approval was unanimous.  The Chairman said that a full appreciation of David’s contribution to Box Hill would be made at the FOBH Summer BBQ in June.

Following a short break for the traditional tea and cakes the Head of the Field Studies Council London Region, Simon Ward, gave an excellent presentation of the work of the FSC and how it has grown over their 70 years at Juniper Hall.  He pointed out how the landscape, flora and fauna, and location of Box Hill made it an extremely popular location for FSC visitors from around the world.