There are 400 acres of beautiful estate surrounding West Horsley Place manor house. As well as the house and its outbuildings, Bamber Gascoigne gifted the land in its entirety to the newly formed charity in 2015.

It is the aim of the West Horsley Place Trust to be a place for three things: culture, heritage and nature. The objectives to preserve the historic house and be a cultural campus for the community sit alongside the intention to be net zero. The Trust also hopes to increase biodiversity across as much of the estate as possible to ensure we are a place where nature has a chance to thrive alongside human creativity and history.

Vast sections of the estate are made up of grass fields, once used as farmland, and to ensure we meet our aims different habitats need to be created.

We are delighted to be working with the Newt Conservation Partnership to build four new clean water ponds and would like to thank them for the funding to complete this project.  Once finished these ponds will encourage amphibian, reptile and many other freshwater plants and animals to live and breed here including many invertebrates such as diving beetles and damselflies.

Chris Worgan, Project Officer from the Newt Conservation Partnership said:

“Amphibian populations are declining worldwide, as are many freshwater plants and animals. Creating clean water ponds is one of the best ways to help species thrive by providing new habitat where they can feed, breed and take refuge. We are excited to be working in partnership with West Horsley Place and look forward to see what colonises these new hotspots for nature”.

Two ponds will be in a field immediately west of the manor house, in an area that is already seasonally waterlogged.

Two further ponds will be situated to the east of the overflow carpark, just next to the public bridleway, and one day will be accessible to pre-booked ticket-holders and school groups for nature education.

We are delighted that the work to dig the ponds was completed last week. They will now fill naturally with water, either via groundwater or runoff from the fields after rainfall. The banks and surrounding areas will be left for natural colonisation by nearby wildflowers and scrub, and we very much hope to see newts and frogs next spring, but look out for dragonflies – these are often the first to colonise!

Follow West Horsley Place for updates and photos of our progress.