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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 October 2007, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Society to protect downland hills
A society is being set up to protect the downland countryside
A society is being set up to safeguard downland that was one of the first landscapes to be protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Surrey Hills area became an AONB in 1958, and now support is being sought for a campaign against new pressures.

Michael Sydney, from the Surrey Hills Partnership, said development, traffic, and loss of traditional land management were increasing threats.

A meeting to set up a Surrey Hills Society is taking place on 24 October.

Mr Sydney, partnership chairman, said: "As we approach the 50th anniversary of the designation, we are seeking public support in protecting the Surrey Hills and ensuring that it remains a treasure for the next 50 years and beyond."

The Surrey Hills area covers more than a quarter of the county.

Its hills stretch across the chalk North Downs that run from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east, and it also includes the Greensand Hills, the Devil's Punch Bowl and Leith Hill.

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