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News Summer 2023

Spot your swift boxes on our 'dotty map' of Shamley Green's swift box locations

Swift boxes - Dotty map.jpg

The Shamley Green Swift Project now has a total of 58 swift boxes at 25 locations within the village. It's great that 6 of them also have swift callers - the caller plays the calls that swifts use when in their nest site, and this is used by prospecting, non-breeding swifts to identify potential nest sites, attracting them to our lovely comfy swift boxes. There are a further 6 boxes and 1 caller in Wonersh and Guildford.

This map shows the location of all the boxes in Shamley Green as blue dots, and callers are shown by a red dot.

If you don't have a box yet and would like to be included in the scheme and add even more boxes for our little colony to expand into, then please do get in touch by emailing

Go to our Birds page for lots for information about this exciting project.

Big Butterfly Count - there is still time to get your count done!

Apologies to our readers who needed to see this a long time ago - we've had a hiccup in the SGEG news department!

But there is still time to do your 15 minute butterfly count for 2023 - submissions by 6th August. Click here for all the details of how to download the app and add your valuable data to the nationwide effort to save our butterflies.

Monitoring pond water levels

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Now that we have a rain gauge in the village and are keeping records we can see how rainfall relates to our pond levels. In summary, 2022 was an extreme year in terms of the period with no rain and high temperature, and the 2023 spring / summer season started with an exceptionally long dry period, with no rain from mid-May to mid-June. Rainfall in the whole of June 2023 was about 20mm.

For more detail see our Ponds page or go to our reports page for graphs and a report by Jerry Bird : with the ground water table well which was installed by the pond this June we are gradually gaining a better understanding of what is happening in the duck pond area.

SGEG Bird Group - Aerial Acrobatics (not the members!)

The SGEG bird group had a very successful birdwatching evening on 6th July on Blackheath at 8.30 p.m.  Amongst other birds we heard blackbirds, pigeons, linnets, chiffchaffs and the dartford warbler, which was tantalisingly close but staying put, in impenetrable cover.   As darkness fell on a beautiful evening, eight of us were treated to the unmistakable sound of nightjars.  This is what we had come to witness.  There were at least 5 birds churring from various locations as we slowly moved about.   The calls were really quite loud and sounded, we sort of agreed, a bit like a cicada,  We even heard the clapping of the wings and then some of us were treated to a display of aerial acrobatics.   This was caught on the video shown here.


We came across two Waverley rangers who said that they were aware of 7 areas inhabited by nightjars on the common and asked us to report our observations to them if we saw them - so we did!  We said we could not be sure how many territories there might have been.


This successful evening came hot on the heels of a visit to Longacre bird club. In only one term Longacre have identified 42 species and have made wonderful clay models of many of them which is a really excellent way of emphasizing their differing characteristics.

Aerial nightjar acrobatics!

Anyone is always very welcome to come and join us on our bird walks,  just let us know if you are interested in doing so.  Also please let us know about your unusual sightings at  One of our bird group has several swallows nesting in their barn again (after an absence of a few years) so that is definitely worth a mention.

Keeping track of our trees

The 1987 storm wiped out 15 million trees in Southern England - see Tree Stories 2

We now have an up to date inventory of the trees on our common land, and in it you can see that many have been planted to commemorate events or people. But without a notice telling you about it these things get forgotten! Plaques get removed and lost, people move away, storms topple some prematurely, it all gets lost into history. That seems to be shame, especially as many people have generously funded the planting of these trees as a gift to the village.

So, with a bit of research, and with lots of help from our local historian and tree expert Michael Harding, we have put together our new 'Tree Stories' pages.

Click below to learn about the back story of many of the trees on our village greens:

Tree Stories 1 - around Malt House and Duck Pond Green

Tree Stories 2 - by the Red Lion and Court House Green

Tree Stories 3 - on and around the Cricket Green, and Lords Hill

Our 'Tudor' oak - may have been an acorn in the 1600's - see Tree Stories 1
Michael Harding with his own commemorative tree in 2023 - see Tree Stories 2
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Barbara Webb, whose cherry brightens the Cricket Green in spring - see Tree Stories 3

If you have any background on other trees which we may have missed, do contact us and tell us what you know!

Dramatic shedding of Willow branch causes a stir!

Before - the weeping willow in 2021
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After - (June 13th 2023) - spot the pale scar where the bark has torn off

High Drama!  A branch from the weeping willow tree next to the Duck Pond came down rather spectacularly at about 4pm on 13th June! Luckily it was witnessed by a member of SGEG who happened to be inspecting another tree about 100m away at the time and was able to report it immediately to Waverley Borough Council (who are responsible). They sent out their tree specialist the next day, the tree was deemed safe, and on 21st June it was pruned to make branch shedding less likely in future (and the branch removed).

It's a shame that the branch could not have been left in situ to decay naturally and provide a great habitat for all sorts of wildlife, but it really was in the way! It's now all tidy again around the seating area, something lots of villagers really appreciate, so thanks to the contractors and everyone else involved and long may it continue!

The risk of being killed or injured by a falling tree or branch is actually very low. Research commissioned by the National Tree Safety Group showed that in the UK about 55 people a year end up in A&E after being struck by a falling tree or branch, compared with roughly 2.9 million cases of injury from some other leisure-related incident! They identified 64 deaths due to falling trees or branches in a 10 year period, equating to about one death in 10 million people per year from trees.

Even so, this happening so close to home is a bit unsettling!

The reasons for branch drop in the summer are not well understood - many trees do this in a prolonged period of hot, dry weather and the cause may be related to defects within the branch or it can occur in apparently healthy branches too. There were certainly many instances of it in June in our local woods on Blackheath and at the Chantries, mostly from oak and chestnut trees

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The fallen branch

SGEG fete Quiz Answers - how did you do?

The Environment Group stall at the Shamley Green Fete on 10th June attracted visitors of all ages interested in our environment.

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It was fascinating to see toads close up, with Regena keeping a close eye on them and making sure they stayed nice and cool on what was one of the hottest days of the year so far!


Kate Elmes-Rudd was on hand to tell people how the swift box scheme is going in Shamley Green and to sign up new properties to have them - we already have 41 in the village.


And lots of people had a go at our quiz: here are the 8 correct answers, all of which can be found somewhere on this website.

Congratulations to Lynn Patterson who had the highest score, with 5 correct answers.

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