Area of outstanding natural beauty could include… Croydon

Expansion plan: how Natural England is seeking to extend the Surrey Hills AONB, including Croydon open spaces Happy Valley and Farthing Downs

Proposals are out for consultation to extend the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty by almost 25,000 acres – and include Happy Valley and Farthing Downs in Croydon.

AONBs represent some of England’s most treasured landscapes, whose unique qualities are safeguarded in the national interest.

Natural England is also looking at bringing parts of Chipstead, Caterham Woods, Woldingham Valley, Limpsfield and Godstone Hills into the expanded Surrey Hills AONB.

The existing AONB was designated in 1958 and reaches the boundaries of Croydon, but field research by Natural England as part of a review suggests the boundary should be extended to include Coulsdon’s Happy Valley and Farthing Downs, the latter which come under the management of the City of London Corporation.

These beauty spots are popular for their rich wildlife and countryside walks and are already protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and notified as a National Nature Reserve. If they became part of the Surrey Hills Area of Natural Beauty, however, they would be further conserved in law by the “CROW Act” – the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Additional resources would also be available to help manage the parks from the AONB team.

Very Happy Valley: parts of Coulsdon could be added to the Surrey Hills AONB

Natural England is inviting residents, local businesses, landowning groups and community organisations to have their say on the plans. Croydon Council and other local authorities, such as Surrey County Council, are also being consulted as part of the boundary review.

The consultation was launched on March 7 and will close on June 13.

The plans would expand the Surrey Hills AONB by 25per cent, and could see areas around Dunsfold, Reigate, Oxted and south of Banstead among those included. The existing boundary was set 65 years ago and has never been reviewed since, despite a number of Areas of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) designated adjacent to the AONB.

Allison Potts, the area manager for Natural England, described the consultation as an “exciting step forward”.

The consultation document is in Croydon Central Library, or you can fill in the online survey by clicking here.

Find out more about Surrey Hills AONB by visiting its website here.

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in City Commons, Coulsdon, Croydon parks, Environment, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Area of outstanding natural beauty could include… Croydon

  1. Less development in Surrey means more development pressure in Croydon. Whole of Woldingham put in AONB!

  2. John Jefkins says:

    Excellent news – to provide more protection from over-development.
    More evidence of just how good our area is for walking- eg via the London Loop and Vanguard Way.

  3. Peter Underwood says:

    Please respond to this consultation and support making these areas an AONB. I have worked to help maintain and improve these sites for many years and they are amongst the best nature sites in Croydon. This easily has sufficient natural beauty to be designated as an AONB for both the wooded areas and the amazing chalk grasslands. Chalk grassland has become sadly very rare and the wildflowers that grow there are a beautiful natural feature of the lanscape that we should be protecting.

Leave a Reply