The Ashtead Rye Meadows Wetlands are 14 acres of meadow land spanning the Rye Brook from Ashtead Woods Road almost to the M25. Since work commenced on the land in 2011, volunteers have achieved a huge amount. In addition, working with professional contractors we have cleared stretches of the Rye Brook, widened the river and realigned the banks. One major piece of work was to create a wetland area with a new pond and several scrapes. At the same time we placed all the Rye Meadows under the umbrella of Fields in Trust which means that the land is protected in perpetuity.
Alongside this action, we have designated one field a Centenary Field to commemorate those 62 residents of Ashtead who fell in the Great War. The opening ceremony to commemorate this field will take place at 2pm on Wednesday 24th May 2017. Those present will include all the generous sponsors of Rye Meadows and these include A Plant, Thames Water, The Community Foundation For Surrey, Mole Valley District Council, The Thomas Flack Fund, Surrey County Council, Cllr. Chris Townsend, The Lower Mole Partnership, Ashtead Rotary and Surrey Wildlife Trust. Of course nothing could have been done at all without the support of George & Daphne Burnett, the land owners who had the original vision for the Meadows.
The ceremony will include contributions from local schools in Ashtead who are recording profiles of the fallen soldiers, and this will be played during the day. Also present will be Colonel (Retired) Patrick Crowley, MA, CIPR, Imogen Middleton from the Surrey History Centre, representatives from the Surrey Infantry Museum and Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, Hugh Riley JP DL . We also hope to show a film demonstrating the conditions in which the troops operated during the conflict prepared by the Surrey History Centre.