Children can discover characters from the classic children’s tale “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at a new Narnia-themed nature trail.
The walk is located at the newly-designated Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs Nature Reserve.
Visitors can meet Aslan the lion, spot Lucy Pevensey waiting by the lamp post, and walk through the wardrobe entrance to Narnia, complete with hanging coats. Carved posts depicting the site’s special flora and fauna mark out the route.
The figures have been carved from standing deadwood by chainsaw sculptor Ella from The Tree Pirates, using the site’s own existing natural resources. It is hoped that more sculptures will be added over the coming months as funding becomes available.
The trail, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, was installed by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Greenspaces team with permission from The CS Lewis Company Ltd.
Cllr Dr Lynne Hack, Executive Member for the Environment, said:
“Children will be able to step through the wardrobe and discover characters from C S Lewis’s famous book, while also discovering the site’s wonderful flora and fauna.”
Chipstead Downs and Banstead Woods boast some of the finest views in the North Downs and is already popular with ramblers, dog walkers and nature lovers.
By creating this unique trail, the Council hopes to encourage more people, particularly children and families, to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s all part our work to encourage healthy lifestyles through making our open spaces more accessible, fun and educational.”
The council says the trail takes about half an hour to complete and is largely pushchair friendly, but with some gravel paths and steep inclines.
An official opening ceremony with the Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Roger Newstead, took place on 22 June. The event also marked Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs’ designation as a Local Nature Reserve – the first in the borough for 15 years – for its ancient woodland and rare chalk grassland habitats and species.
Cllr Hack added:
“Designating Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs as a Local Nature Reserve will afford this historically and ecologically important site greater protection so that its landscapes and habitats can be better protected and enhanced, while positively managing it for recreation.”
Banstead Woods and Chipstead Downs is alluded to in the Domesday Book of 1086, and has been in the ownership of kings and queens of England, knights, the founder of Barings Bank and other notables over the years.
The address of the site is Holly Lane car park, Holly Lane, Banstead, Surrey CR5 3NR – there’s a map below.
Council information page