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During 2023 volunteers have been surveying Unit 2 of The Hurst for oak trees. In total we found 1332 oak trees, a mix of English Oak and Sessile Oak. While many are still quite young trees, some are estimated to be almost 100 years old.

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Why is The Hurst Special?

As a community asset, Cumnor Hurst is of great value. The site was designated by Natural England as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1950 for its rare acid grassland, mosses, liverworts and lichens and the discovery of 153 million year old dinosaur fossils at the site.


This designation means that the site is protected by law; with Natural England having a statutory duty to manage it. The mosses and paleontological discoveries are the result of the history of the site as a source of clay for brick manufacture during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Eventually, the area, now home to the Kimmeridge estate, came to be used by Timbmet; an importer and distributor of hardwoods. The remains of some Timbmet buildings and untreated timber stock (now home to Great Crested Newts) can still be seen at the western entrance to the SSSI.

The SSSI is split into two ‘units’; Unit 1 covers the clay pits, rare mosses and geological formations. It is managed by Cumnor Hurst Charity; formed in 2008 to create Cumnor Community Woodland adjacent to the SSSI.


Unit 2 covers the acid grassland and mixed woodland grazed by Dexter cows and is managed by the Cumnor Conservation Group on behalf of the Parish Council and All Souls College.

What can I do to help?

We are always looking for people to come and help us manage The Hurst.

Fancy joinng our annual ragwort pulling party?

Ragwort is poisonous to our Dexter cattle who graze Unit 2 so each year we handpull the ragwort to protect them from harm.

The most important thing you can do to help us protect the Hurst is to keep to the paths. The woodland system is fragile and is best left without human disturbance.

Only light fires in the central firepit and take your litter home. Yes every last beer bottle top - this means taking a really good light with you and doing a thorough search before you leave the area.

Cumnor Hurst experiences a high volume of visitors throughout the year. Unfortunately, some damage is being done to the site by mountain bikes, fires and littering, posing a risk to the variety of flora and fauna essential for maintaining its protected status. 

Enjoy the Hurst but help us to help it!

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