CHESSINGTON PLEDGES TO SAVE LOCAL WILDLIFE

Chessington World of Adventures Resort has taken on a whole new wild challenge, funding a huge community project to prevent the decline of local wildlife in the Surrey area. The Chessington Conservation Fund has donated £20,000 to the Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Hedgerow Heroes project after hearing about the amazing work the project will do and how integral our hedgerows are to the survival of the wildlife right here in Surrey.

While Chessington is normally known for exotic creatures such as lions and tigers, the recent launch of the brand new Go Ape Tree Top Adventure Course, located within adjoining woodland, has put the Theme Park back in touch with the wildlife right on its doorstep. Go Ape courses are built around natural woodland, making each one unique to that area and therefore encouraging guests to surround themselves with local wildlife by exploring the woodlands in their immediate area. Alongside the new Go Ape site Chessington has launched a brand new Woodland Discovery Education Centre to further showcase all things wild that reside right here in Surrey, this new facility even plays home to a small hedgehog, Darwin.

So when Chessington heard from the Surrey Wildlife Trust about the immediate danger to local wildlife in Surrey, including Hedgehogs like their very own Darwin, the Resort Theme Park jumped right in to help.

Hedgerows have been in rapid decline over the last few decades, particularly in the Surrey area, which puts our local wildlife in danger, “(hedgerows) are vital places for wildlife” says Richard Hunt of Surrey Wildlife Trust. “They provide homes and green highways for animals such as hedgehogs, bats and dormice which use them to travel between woodland patches

which characterise our landscape.” A survey taken by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species between 2009 -2011 showed that 93% of Hedges in Surrey were in a poor condition for wildlife.  Losses and the decline in hedgerows have been linked to the loss of key British wildlife including the beloved hedgehog and dormouse.

With this in mind Surrey Wildlife Trust launched Hedgerows for Heroes, a project which will connect people from the community with the local wildlife in Surrey and put them in control of their future, by training them to look after the hedgerows and the wildlife on their doorstep and Chessington Conservation Fund have pledged to fund the whole project. “Hedgerow Heroes will help us to restore one of the most important and iconic parts of our landscape – hedgerows. With Chessington Conservation Fund’s support we will be able to launch this project and through volunteers right across the county (and) start to understand and protect these incredible habitats” Richard Hunt, Surrey Wildlife Trust.

The project was launched with a celebratory night at Chessington’s brand new Go Ape site, with guests from the local community having the chance to explore the woodland in their area. The Mayor of Kingston was in attendance to present the important donation to the Surrey Wildlife Trust. Chessington hopes that the new Go Ape course will do its part to engage a whole new generation with nature in their area as they swing among the trees in local woodland, and that the Woodland Discovery Centre and its residents, such as Darwin, will inspire visitors to get involved in community projects such as Hedgerow Heroes.

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For further information please call the Frank team on 020 7693 6999 or email CWOA@frankpr.it.

Further Information

Notes to Editors

  • High Resolution images of Chessington World of Adventures Resort are available for the media to download free of charge from www.chessington.com/press 
  • Twitter: @cwoa    Facebook: Facebook.com/chessington    Instagram: @chessingtonworldofadventures    Google+: google.com/+chessington

About Go Ape:

  • In 2001, ex-Army Officer Tristram Mayhew and his wife Rebecca, discovered how much fun it was swinging through the trees during a holiday in France. They quit their jobs and, with a giant leap of faith, created the first Go Ape adventure – and they’ve never looked back
  • Go Ape is the UK's No. 1 Forest Adventure with 59 activities across the country including:
  • Tree Top Adventure – for adults and children of 10 and above who are at least 1.4m (4ft 7in) tall
  • Tree Top Junior – for children (normally between 6 and 12) who are at least 1m (3ft 3½ in) tall
  • Forest Segway – for adults and children of 10 and above weighing at least 7 stone
  • Zip Trekking Adventure – for adults and children of 13 and above who are at least 1.4m (4ft 7in) tall and weigh a minimum of 7 stone
  • Any child under 16 must be supervised by a participating adult (18 years +). One adult can supervise two 10-15 year olds
  • In 2015, 860,000 people came to live life a little more adventurously at Go Ape – a 6% increase year on year Go Ape plans to open new adventures during 2016, bringing the Go Ape experience to millions more

Opening times:

  • The full theme park will be open on selected days from Friday 18th March – Monday 31st October 2016, please check the website for availability..  For more information on opening times and to book tickets please visit www.chessington.com
  • Discover the perfect family get away at the Chessington Resort Hotels - Safari Hotel and Azteca Hotel - where you can enjoy themed rooms, an indoor swimming pool, spa and Savannah Splash pool and two fantastic themed restaurants. Or for the ultimate outdoor accommodation experience try our Explorer Glamping – brand new for 2016! For more information please visit http://www.chessington.com/glamping
  • For 12 months unlimited access to Chessington and/or Merlin’s other UK attractions see our range of annual passes at Merlin Annual Pass
  • The Zoo at Chessington World of Adventures is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). BIAZA represents its member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums 
  • MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS plc is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 111 attractions, 12 hotels/4 holiday villages in 23 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its almost 63 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and c26,000 employees (peak season). 
  • Among  Merlin’s attractions are - SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, DreamWorks Tours SHREK’s Adventure, The London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK Resort, Blackpool Tower, Heide Park Resort, Sydney Tower Eye and SKYWALK.  All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.

About Surrey Wildlife Trust

  • Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) is a registered charity and the only organisation concerned solely with the conservation of all forms of wildlife in Surrey. We manage over 80 reserves; have over 30,000 members and each year our Education team engages with over 15,000 children and young people across Surrey. In 2002 Surrey Wildlife Trust formed a unique partnership with Surrey County Council (SCC) and became responsible for managing the Council’s entire Countryside Estate, covering some 2,600ha; during that time SWT has increased volunteering and funding income and made significant enhancements for the benefit of wildlife and the thousands of people that visit these SCC owned sites. Further information can be found on our website www.surreywildlifetrust.org
  • SWT shares the vision of a “Living Landscape” with its fellow wildlife trusts. Living Landscapes aims to combine existing, and create new, wildlife habitats. It will restore large-scale, ecologically functioning open space networks to enable plants and animals to move and adapt. Living Landscapes will connect existing to new natural areas of wildlife value by creating wildlife corridors and buffer zones. In the countryside our special wildlife sites will be linked mainly across open farmland, and in urban areas via gardens, schools and community recreation grounds.
  • Hedgerow Heroes Hedgerows provide vital resources for mammals, birds, and insect species. As well as being an important habitat in their own right, they act as wildlife corridors allowing dispersal between isolated habitats. Hedgerows are important for lots of different species, providing excellent habitat for dormice and commuting routes for bats. Hedgehogs use them for foraging and shelter and they are a magnet for birds and bees. But hedgerows are a habitat that is very under-recorded in Surrey and across the UK. A lot of them are in a very poor state – recent surveys suggest only 7 per cent may be in good condition in Surrey - and that needs to change. There are 450,000 km of hedgerows left in the UK and some date back to medieval times. They are rich in tree species such as hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn and oak and 130 UK BAP priority species are associated with them. But hedgerows are at risk from intensive farming and development and many are being damaged by over cutting or neglect, which has a serious impact on wildlife. Since the Second World War more than 120,000 km of hedgerows have been lost. The ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ Project will update our knowledge on the extent and condition of the hedgerows in Surrey and undertake practical action to restore our hedgerow network. Volunteers will be trained to carry out hedgerow surveys and the information they collect will be used to plan targeted hedgerow management, advice, planting and practical action to restore Surrey’s hedgerow heritage.

 


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