How can I help?

The Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area is one of the most important wildlife sites in Europe. We’re so lucky to have this heathland paradise on our doorstep, it’s definitely something worth protecting. Even for people not interested in wildlife, if you value wild spaces, spare a thought for the rare ground-nesting birds. Without them, these places wouldn’t have such robust protection from development.

The birds are nesting from March to mid-September. You can really make a difference by:

  • Sticking to paths. Keeping to paths reduces the risk of disturbing the rare birds that nest on the ground on the open heath.
  • Keeping dogs on paths and under your control. Keeping dogs on the track, and either close to you and in sight, or on a lead, from March to mid September avoids disturbing ground-nesting birds, and helps avoid adder and tick bites. Throwing a stick or ball down the track rather than into the heather is a great way to help.
  • Always bagging & binning. As well as being unpleasant and spreading disease, dog waste fertilises the ground, and kills off the heathland plants that make the Thames Basin Heaths special. Please always bag it & bin it, any bin will do. And if there’s no bin, or the bin is already full, please take it home.
  • Reducing the risk of fire. Please never discard cigarettes, bring BBQ’s or light camp fires.
  • Ringing the changes. Our directory lists loads of places that have been set aside for you to explore and enjoy, and where dogs can roam off-lead without disturbing sensitive wildlife. All entries have at least 2 hours free parking and most have poo bins.
  • Helping to spread the word. By joining a community group such as Heathland Hounds.
  • Becoming an ambassador for fire prevention. By joining our K9 Fire Patrol, a joint venture with Surrey Fire & Rescue Service.
  • Getting involved as a conservation volunteer. Checkout our page of volunteering opportunities.



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