Sheet’s Heath is a beautiful spot, managed by the Surrey Heathland Partnership on behalf of Woking Borough Council, and DIO. It makes a lovely walk and is much-loved by local people. It’s a small, but important part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. At only 50 hectares it represents less than 1% of the heathland habitat protected by the Special Protection Area, but in such a fragmented landscape even small nature reserves like this are essential, being important stepping stones and green corridors between the larger ones. But being small, makes it especially vulnerable.
The heathland at Sheet’s Heath is home to three types of rare birds that nest throughout the spring and summer months, Woodlarks, Dartford Warblers and Nightjars. They nest right on the ground or in low-growing vegetation, in open areas of heather and gorse (see the photo gallery below if you’re not sure). Unfortunately, the number of birds nesting at Sheet’s Heath has declined in recent years, but by keeping to the main paths, we can give them the space they need. If in doubt, keeping to the woodland perimeter from March to September will avoid the areas where the birds nest and will help them recover. By protecting the birds here, we’re not only helping local wildlife, we’re also making sure the protection from housing development offered by the Special Protection Area, that Sheet’s Heath benefits from, stays in place.
It’s especially important to keep dogs under control, as birds are easily scared off their nests. It’s not necessarily that dogs hunt the birds, but if they’re repeatedly scared off their nests, they’ll eventually abandon them. Keeping your dog with you on the main paths from March to September is all we ask please. If you’re a regular dog walker and would like to try somewhere else, to help protect this fragile place, our top recommendations are Brookwood Country Park at Knaphill (1 mile away), Bisley Common on Stafford Lake at Bisley (2 miles) and Windlemere at West End (4 miles).
Find routes onto Sheet’s Heath and limited parking just off Billesden Road at Pirbright, and pedestrian entrances from Sheets Heath Lane at Brookwood, GU24.
Sheet’s Heath gallery…
[Click on the images for the full size versions, and to see the captions]
Thank you everyone 🙏
Thames Basin Heaths Partnership