2nd March 2020

Staines Moor is a Historic and Scenic Landscape

Covering over 500 hectares of open countryside; the moor consists of flood meadows, the Staines and King George VI reservoirs and a pretty stretch of the River Colne. It is internationally important for wintering wildfowl and a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), due to the nationally important habitats and species it supports. The Moor has been common land since 1065 and has a very dramatic and unique feel to the landscape.

Short eared owl on the moor – © Lee Dingain

What makes the Moor so special?

We asked Steve Price, Countryside and Commons Officer for Spelthorne Borough Council to tell us more….

“Upon visiting the site you will soon appreciate its abundant worth, be that the floral species present (importance for nesting and foraging birds), its historical significance, or its social worth to the local community.

Staines Moor is the largest area of alluvial meadow in Surrey, and predominately achieves its SSSI status due to the mosaic of floral species found there. Owing to subtle variations in topography, sheer size, and the river Colne, plant communities vary greatly from dry grassland to marshland-dominant species.

Hugely important to both resident and migrant bird species, more than 200 species have been seen on the moor, a great credit to the site and the numerous dedicated birdwatchers who record such sightings. Lapwing, Redshank and Skylark are ground-nesting species, utilising the site from March to July. It’s essential that visitors observe the conditions set out on signs on the moor during this time, sticking to the paths and keeping dogs under close control. Summer may bring a rare sighting of a hobby and in Winter, water pipits, snipes and the occasional short-eared owl can be spotted

The moor has remained relatively undisturbed for centuries, allowing the oldest ant hills (the yellow meadow ant) known in the UK to remain for nearly 200 years. The landscape brings a rare sense of openness and rural surroundings in an otherwise urban setting, it’s value and importance continues to grow”.

The River Colne

Making a difference on the Moor

The Landscape Partnership project has come together with Thames Water Ltd, the London Wildlife Trust and Spelthorne Borough Council to carry out important wildlife improvements in the NE corner of the Moor where Thames Water Ltd owns the land. Adam Bolton, our access and habitats Manager, tells us more: “It has been really important to work together on this section of the Moor, in order to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of this special site has had the maximum effect, for both the wildlife and the local communities. The project will ensure the rare birds, wildflowers, fauna and insects that thrive in this unique habitat are protected, and that the special biodiversity that exists here will continue to flourish in this corner of the Moor. “
Together with the project partners we have;
– Installed a new bird screen and interpretation board.
– Removed rubbish and abandoned vehicles.
– Installed new fencing and introduced grazing cows.
– Protected the biodiversity and historic character through habitat works.

Our River Rangers have also completed health and protection surveys of the River Colne at the Moor.

If you would like to visit, download your copy of the Staines Moor walk here from the walks section of “The Things To Do” page.

The project is being funded by Thames Water Ltd, HLF and the Heathrow Community Fund.