Size: 3ha

Ownership: Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

Designations: SSSI, SPA, SAC

Restrictions: Open access land. Please keep dogs on a lead.

Access: via Hankley Common

Grid ref: SU 87295 39697

One of our Surrey gems, Hankley Gomez is a small, but very important reserve owned and managed by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and supporting indigenous populations of all six British reptile species.

The reserve

Hankley Gomez was generously bequeathed to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation by Dr Gomez in 2008. The site adjoins the larger Hankley Common site (also managed by ARC) and shares its designations as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation.

The open dry heathland of Hankley Gomez is dominated by common heath (or ‘ling’) with small stands of bell heather and dwarf gorse. The steep southern aspect of Hankley Gomez, sheltered from wind coming from the north, provides an opportunity for reptiles to bask in the mornings, and is an important feature of the site. At the foot of the slope an area of alder/willow carr and scrub, incorporates several small ponds, and provides excellent conditions for native amphibians as well as dragonflies.

Supporting indigenous populations of reptiles

All of the six native reptile species found at Hankley Gomez are indigenous. This means that the populations occurring at this site are naturally found there, and have not been reintroduced following an extinction event. This is important as it creates an original ‘gene bank’ for this area of Surrey, and means that we can retain our original genetic diversity, should animals be lost at other local sites due to fire, degradation or loss of habitat or disease.

What to see

  • All six native reptile species occur on Hankley Gomez, and can often be spotted basking on the south-facing slopes of the site.
  • In the summer, the purple flowers of the heather and heath plants create a purple haze over the whole of Hankley Gomez – an impressive natural spectacle.