Previous events

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Monday 5th February 2024 –Walrus from Space 

Walrus photo by uhuru1701 under creative commons

Alejandra Vergara-Pena, Polar Specialist, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)

With the summer Arctic sea ice shrinking by about    12-13% per decade, walruses are facing the reality of the climate crisis. We learnt all about this iconic species and how everyone can even help safeguard their future through the ‘Walrus from Space’ project. Learn how you can volunteer to help here.

Monday 8th January 2024 – Wasps and Bumblebees

Photo of bumblebee on clematis © Ray Best Through the Lens,

A talk by Andrew Halstead, Retired Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Principal Entomologist on the social wasps and bumblebees commonly found in gardens.

December 2023

Christmas Party for members only

November’s talk

This was postponed due to the speaker being ill

Monday 2nd October – The History of British Trees

Gill Woolfson, FNW Committee member and plant enthusiast

Gill stepped in when our scheduled speaker had to cancel due to illness and gave us a wonderful talk on how trees arrived in the UK since the ice age.  We hope to be able to reschedule the talk by Holly Stanworth, The Species Recovery Trust on Saving Britain’s Rarest Plants to another date in 2024.

Monday 4th September – The Hazel Dormouse

Plus FNW AGM (6:45-7:15pm)

Dave Williams, Mammal expert / Surrey Dormouse Group

Hazel dormouse photo by Frank Vassen under creative commons

We learnt about the life and ecology of the Hazel Dormouse and how the Dormouse group is monitoring and helping this declining endangered species. There was even a chance to look at hazelnuts opened by Dormice and other small mammals.


Common wainscot moth found on Normandy Common

FNW Committee members and ecologists, Bill Stanworth and Steve Marshall set out their moth traps, whose bright lights attracted numerous and varied moths, and we also had nets to swipe the foliage.

Here is the full list of the 29 moths found:
Larger moths
Dingy Footman
Orange Swift
Square-spot Rustic
Large Yellow Underwing
Tawny-barred Angle
Setaceous Hebrew Character
Sharp-angled Carpet
Green Carpet
Black Arches
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Light Emerald
Old Lady
Maiden’s Blush
Yellow Shell
Grey Pine Carpet
Oak Processionary
Common Wainscot
Smaller moths
Italian Tubic
Dingy Dowd
Small China-mark
Common Marble
Dotted Oak Knot-horn
Grey Poplar Bell
Marbled Piercer
Chequered Grass-veneer
Common Grass-veneer
Straw Grass-veneer
Mother of Pearl
Oak Processionary moth on Normandy Common

We found four oak processionary moths, photograph above, whose caterpillars are pests of oak trees and a health hazard, and spreading into Surrey from the London area. If you find caterpillars or nests please don’t disturb them but report to the Forestry Commission, to the land owner and or to us.  Please read more about these moths and what to do if you see one here


Our first FNW walk of 2023 was a wonderful exploration of Surrey’s orchids.

The morning started with a visit to the Normandy Cricket Club area to see Bee Orchids, which are especially lovely and numerous this year, thanks to careful management by the Cricket Club and Bill Stanworth (FNW committee member).

Bee orchid on Normandy Common, June 2023

Next we walked from the Shere Road car park on Sheepleas Nature Reserve to look for woodland orchids. Sheepleas in known for having 12 species of orchids* which thrive on the chalk soil there.

Almost immediately, in the shade of the beech trees were dozens of White Helleborines and the very well camouflaged Bird’s Nest Orchids, as well as a handful of Broad-Leaved Helleborines that had no flowers yet. In the grassland above were Common Twayblades, Common Spotted Orchids and a mass of Greater Butterfly Orchids.

Bird’s Nest Orchid at Sheepleas Nature reserve, June 2023

Our next stop was the beautiful traditional meadows near the St Mary’s Church car park, which contain many species of flowers, other plants, butterflies, moths and other insects. We were delighted to see butterflies including Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Large White, Common Blue and a Skipper of some sort and moths including Mother Shipton and Hook-streak Grass-veneer. We also saw some Wolf spiders, with their white egg sacs prominent on their rear.

Common Spotted Orchids were scattered about in the meadows and verges, and a few Pyramidal Orchids were appearing. There were more lovely Greater Butterfly Orchids as well.

White helleborine at Sheepleas Nature Reserve, June 2023

All in all we saw seven species of orchids at Sheepleas, and the Bee Orchids on Normandy Common, which was a fantastic result from a very enjoyable walk exploring and identifying the wildlife around us.

*The 12 species of Orchid found in Sheepleas are: Bee Orchid, Bird’s Nest Orchid, Broad-Leaved Helleborine, Chalk Fragrant Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Common Twayblade, Fly Orchid, Greater Butterfly Orchid, Narrow- Leaved Helleborine, Pyramidal Orchid, White Helleborine and Yellow Bird’s Nest Orchid. Sheepleas Nature Reserve is managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust, and well worth a visit.

 Monday 3rd April 2023 – Heathland insects

Emperor moth photo by Nigel Stone under creative commons

Andrew Halstead, Entomologist

We learnt all about bee wolves, cuckoo bees, tiger beetles, emperor moths and other heathland insects

Monday 6th March 2023 – Everything you wanted to know about birds, but were afraid to ask!

Singing wren photo by Andy Morffew under creative commons

Keith Betton is the Hampshire County Bird Recorder, and an author, lecturer and broadcaster on birds.

How do birds migrate? Do birds mate for life? Why do they sing? How long do they live? These questions and many more were answered in this illustrated talk.

Monday 6th February 2023 – The Joy of Sex

The Ins and Outs (and Oddities!) of Wildlife Reproduction

A talk by Mark Wright, Director of Science, WWF-UK (World Wide Fund for Nature)

Central to WWF’s work is the desire to see wildlife populations around
the world recovering. We can do our bit, but clearly all those creatures
need to play their, rather fundamental, part and have offspring. This talk
gave an unashamed and random celebration of the multitude of
different ways that nature has come up with to do just this.

Monday 9th January 2023 – Orchids

Gill Woolfson

Our own FNW Committee member, Gill gave us a fascinating insight into orchids, including those you can find around Normandy