Published Monday, 26th June 2017
Iconic characters from ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ have been brought to life at an enchanting Narnia themed nature trail at the new Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs Local Nature Reserve.
Thought to be the first of its kind in the country, its launch is perfectly timed for those looking for free and fun things to do with the family over the summer.
Step through the wardrobe
Visitors can meet Aslan the Lion, spot Lucy Pevensey waiting by the lamppost and even walk through the wardrobe entrance to Narnia, complete with hanging coats. Carved posts depicting the site's special flora an fauna mark out the route.
The trail, installed by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Greenspaces team with permission from The CS Lewis Company Ltd, was officially opened by the Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Roger Newstead on Thursday 22 June 2017.
The figures have been carved from standing deadwood by talented chainsaw sculptor Ella from The Tree Pirates, making use of the site’s own existing natural resources. It is hoped that more sculptures will be added over the coming months as funding becomes available.
“Children will be able to step through the wardrobe and discover characters from C S Lewis’s famous book, while also discovering the site’s wonderful flora and fauna”, says Cllr Dr Lynne Hack, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment.
“Chipstead Downs and Banstead Woods boast some of the finest views in the North Downs and is already popular with ramblers, dog walkers and nature lovers. By creating this magical trail, the Council hopes to encourage more people, particularly children and families, to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s all part our work to encourage healthy lifestyles through making our open spaces more accessible, fun and educational.”
The trail takes about half an hour to complete and is largely pushchair friendly but there are some gravel paths and steep inclines.
New nature reserve
The launch event also marked Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs’ designation as a Local Nature Reserve – the first in the borough for 15 years - for its Ancient Woodland and rare chalk grassland habitats and species which are in significant decline nationally.
Cllr Hack explained: “Designating Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs as a Local Nature Reserve will afford this historically and ecologically important site greater protection so that its landscapes and habitats can be better protected and enhanced, while positively managing it for recreation."
Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs has a long and fascinating history. It was alluded to in the Domesday Book 1086 and has been in the ownership of Kings and Queens of England, Knights of the Realm, the founder of Barings Bank and many other interesting people over the years.
For more information about the site see the Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs page.
- Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs Local Nature Reserve is located at Holly Lane car park, Holly Lane, Banstead, Surrey CR5 3NR.