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Box Hill Geography Project

Oliver Poole

on 9 February 2015

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Transcript of BOX HILL

Box Hill is located in Surrey approximately 30 km south west of London. It is a summit of the North Downs, a ridge of chalk hills in south east England that stretch from Farnham in Surrey to the White Cliffs of Dover.The hill has an ancient box woodland found on the chalk slopes, hence the name.
The National Trust own and manage the west side. Box Hill covers 1200 acres overall and draws in 1 million visitors every year. Box Hill has been popular for over 200 years. In the Victorian Times, people would walk around 2 miles, up Burford Spur and back down, but research has shown that nowadays, people only walk about 100 metres.

Box Hill is an Area of Natural Beauty. It is full of fresh air and it is quiet so would be a nice family escape from the city. In 2012, Box Hill was used for the London Olympics. The men and women's cycling road race took place on Box Hill, that year 3 million tourists went there. So now people would like to go there and try to cycle up the hill themselves. There are many viewpoints with amazing sights of the valley below.
40% of the UK's Box trees are located on Box Hill. In an area of one square metre in an improved grassland, you would expect to see 4 to 5 different species of plants. However in an unimproved grassland you can see 40 to 50 different species of plants in the same area. There are various examples of rare plants called orchids.


By Oliver Poole
Current School: Yardley Court
Future School: Tonbridge School

Year 8 of Yardley Court went to Box Hill to do certain experiments concerning the affect of tourists on the vegetation and environment.

One of the experiments we did was a Trampling Investigation. We had a 0.5m x 0.5m quadrat and searched for small squares with different types of species in them . We looked for and measured the maximum plant height with a ruler. And we measured the soil depth in 5 different places on the quadrat, these were the corners and the centre. We used a soil pin for this experiment.

The other test was an Environmental Impact Survey, where we had to judge the level of litter, dog fouling, noise, air quality, vandalism and space. We did this at four locations including Lodge Hill, Viewpoint, Visitors Centre and Burford Spur. We chose these locations as they are all areas of tourism and we could compare the results for the different locations.

However we couldn't do the Infiltration Test as the National Trust banned field study centres at Box Hill from doing it. This was because it involved taking chunks out of the ground therefore slowly ruining the environment.
Box Hill is known for its unusual wildlife. It used to have an endemic species, the Box Hill Bug. However some were recently found in France. Box Hill is home of the world's largest slug, the Ash Black Slug which is 30cm long! There are a lot of butterflies but we didn't manage to see any because of the bad weather.UK's only tarantula called the Purseweb Spider can be found on Box Hill.
I predict that for the Trampling Investigation, the further away from the path, the more species there will be, the higher the plants will be and the deeper the soil. This is because closer to the path, people would have stepped on and trampled the grass and species more.

I predict that the Visitors Centre will be the most environmentally impacted. I think this as it is right next to the road. Therefore there will be more noise and possibly more litter from the visitors. And I think that Burford Spur will be the least environmentally impacted as it isn't near any roads and not many people stop there resulting in not much rubbish.
My results show that the number of species along Burford Spur are generally the same. Although I would have expected the frequency of species to rise the further away I got from the path.
The maximum plant height fell between 0 metres and 2 metres, then rose between 2 metres and 6 metres, then dramatically fell at 7 metres and then rose again between 7 metres and 10 metres away from the path. Closer to the path, the plants were lower generally and further away from the path, the plants were higher generally, which I expected.
And I also expected the soil depth to get deeper, the further away from the path. But my results show that there was an anomalous result around 4 metres away from the path where there was perhaps harder soil. There is a connection, because the further away from the path, the deeper the soil and the higher the plants.
For the Environmental Impact Survey, I was wrong in my hypothesis. I thought that The Visitors Centre would have the biggest impact but my results show that the Viewpoint had the biggest impact. Whereas my results showed that the Visitors Centre was the second most impacted. Maybe on a day that wasn't raining, more people would have come to the Visitors Centre and so it would have more litter and more noise. As my results show the Vistors Centre being the second most environmentally impacted, perhaps it provided bins that people used rather than dropping their rubbish on the ground. But I was right in my other hypothesis thinking that Burford Spur would be the least environmentally impacted.

We had several limitations on the day that we went. It was pouring with rain, and as a result, tourists would have been repelled, changing our results. Also, we went on a weekday in October. If we had gone on a different day, such as a hot weekend in the Summer, then we would have probably seen a lot more tourists. I would like to go back and repeat the Trampling Investigation on a different day. But I would have to do it on exactly the same spot as I did last time, otherwise it would not be a fair test. The Environmental Impact Survey was subjective as I decided what score to give the different locations. To make this a fair test I could ask members of the public what they thought about the environmental impact on the area, and make an average of everyone's thoughts, rather than only using what I had thought primarily.
I found out that tourists have a large effect on the environment at Box Hill. My first hypothesis was proved right. I thought that the further away we got from the path, the higher the plants, the deeper the soil and the greater the number of plant species. This was right except for some anomalous results. Whereas my second prediction wasn't correct. I thought that the Visitors Centre would be the most environmentally impacted but in fact, the Viewpoint was. I saw graffiti all over it where people had engraved their names. My third hypothesis was right, in which I thought that Burford Spur would be the least environmentally impacted. I had a really good and enjoyable time at Box Hill and I would like to do it all again on a day with better weather.
The Viewpoint
Box Hill in England
Burford Spur in Victorian Times
Burford Spur
The Ash Black Slug
The Purseweb Spider
Box Trees
An orchid
A quadrat
A ruler
A soil pin
Individual Environmental Impact Surveys
Box Hill Wikipedia

National Trust Website

Juniper Hall

Google Images
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