Thursley National Nature Reserve Wildfire

Thursley Common Fires drone shot

Thursley Common is widely known as one of Surrey’s most popular attractions with stunning scenery, woodlands and wildlife to explore. It’s one of the largest remaining fragments of heathland in Surrey comprising of around 325 acres of land. It’s an easy space to navigate with boardwalks over lakes, viewing platforms and adventurous sandy paths. With extensive open areas, the nature reserve is a must visit gem location for visitors in and around Surrey.

Tanshire Park tenants are fortunate enough to call this beautiful spot their neighbour with only a small road between. Due to its close proximity, Tanshire Park has a special connection and cares deeply about this nature reserve. With tenants having made the most of Thursley’s picturesque walks and peaceful paths for years.

Surrey’s Devastating Wildfire News

Sadly, we are sharing the news of a wildfire outbreak across Thursley Common, a cherished space for all Surrey locals and visitors. On Saturday May 30th, fire fighters from all across Surrey were urgently called on the scene, as local fire fighters gathered as much support as possible. Locals also jumped at the chance to get involved in saving Thursley Common, doing their part to protect this vital land and habitat.

The fire broke through 150 hectares of the common (at the time of writing) with many wildlife animals and species affected. This isn’t the first time such an event has occurred, in 2006 locals witnessed a fire on Thursley with 160 hectares of heathland destroyed.

The Effect of the Fires on Thursley Common

Thursley’s NNR manager spoke about the ‘horrific’ fires causing ‘terrible loss’ and how he immediately ‘feared the worst’.

Many locals had to be evacuated from their homes and some visitors to the common were forced to abandon their cars during the incident. We are happy to hear none were harmed during the outbreak however our hearts go out to the 300 animal and plant species severely affected within a matter of minutes.

The fire blazed through countless habitats which would have wiped out species from the smallest of creatures to largest animals on the reserve. The base structure of the scrub, gorse and heather was torn through, as a result, leaving species unprotected from predators moving forward. The loss of the heather means there is also no shelter for the animals or an escape from the heat in warmer months. This will have a devastating effect of their chances of survival.

Not only has the fire damaged wildlife but the soil chemical composition has been affected as a result. This means the damage will open the common up to more erosion as there is no vegetation to soak up water from the rain. The water within the lakes and ponds will also be affected due to the carbon wash-off from the slopes, again, affecting wildlife such as dragonflies.

Many Thursley workers and volunteers have spent years on creating a structure that keeps the niche habitats alive within the reserve as a whole. To see the key structure of the common being damaged is awful and will almost certainly have unrevivable knock-on effects in the future.

Future Plans for Thursley Common

As shocking as the fire has been, Thursley operatives are all hopeful the reserve will naturally revitalise itself, as slow as the process may be. The patches of unburnt areas have a natural seed bank of reservoir which means, over time, animals and wildlife can begin to repopulate those areas, at the right time of course. Four years on from Thursley’s previous wildfire, in 2006, we began to see signs of regeneration so we are hopeful this will be the case for this incident.

On another brighter note, this fire epidemic gives management an opportunity to rethink future plans and structure on Thursley. There are many lessons that can be learned for all in this instance, only time will tell on how long-term planning may alter the reserve.

How You Can Help Stop Fires Destroying Wildlife

The cause of the fire is yet to be identified. However, from the team at Tanshire Park we would like to urge everyone in and around Surrey to refrain from using disposable BBQs and having campfires in a dry, open communal space. As suggested by the assistant chief fire officer at Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, ensure all smoking materials are fully extinguished before disposing of before enjoying the outdoors.

This isn’t a stop to locals and visitors enjoying nature it’s simply a warning, a preventative measure to reduce the risk of fires happening in other precious nature reserves, like Thursley. We understand, as the weather warms, people want to venture out for exercise or enjoy fresh air with friends, especially during the current global pandemic. However, we are passionate about preserving our local Surrey communal grounds we are so proud of. Consider the risk of your actions before your act, as just one small mistake could lead into something as disastrous as the Thursley Fires.

These suggestions also apply to the visitors of many other nature reserves across the UK. If you do find yourself in the midst of a fire incident do not try tackle the fire alone, always call 999.

Thank You to All Volunteers & Key Workers Involved

Tanshire Park would like to show huge appreciation to all involved in stopping the fires. Firefighters worked day and night to ensure the safety of Surrey’s locals controlling the fires tremendously well. Even on the third day, 40 firefighters were still working on a rotational basis continuing to tackle the fire rush.

The local community also got involved such as local farmers, agricultural contractors who worked extremely hard to help save the reserve. A huge amount of water was applied with large machinery, if it wasn’t for these heroes, we could all be in a lot worse position, so thank you.

Get in touch with Tanshire Park

We are sorry to be posting about such events but want to urge all locals and visitors to do all you can to help regenerate Thursley common. Our office spaces wouldn’t be the same without such stunning surroundings, and we’re sure our tenants would agree. Businesses wouldn’t be so attracted to our popular office space positioning if it wasn’t for the commons and for that we are fortunate.

It’s worth noting the fires have not affected Tanshire Park in any way, tenants still have full access to their offices, however we will do all we can to help the ones affected. If you’d like to get in touch about office space to rent in Surrey, an idyllic location for your business, then call us today on +44 (0)1483 572999. If not, you are welcome to get in contact about the fires for more information or advice.