What are those gray squiggly things you can see on the satellite view? The internets are not helping me here.
It's a heavily used military training area (with access only possible on a few days each month when there is no 'firing'), so there is all sorts of weird stuff on the ground including trenches and little brick huts.
The squiggles are not on the O map and I didn't really notice them while running, but I *think* they're just patches of open sandy ground where the heather has been cleared - we did cross quite a few of those. No idea why there are so many in a pattern there though, and what they're actually used for. There also seems to be one in the shape of the letter B!
As Arnold indicates, they are cleared strips of heather. They are for either:
Woodlark -- ground nesting birds that will nest in the heather and feed on insects
basking on the warmed up sandy strips.
Lizards(or Adders -- only poisonous UK snake) -- for them to bask in the sun
and in the case of the lizards to feed on the insects. There are a few
hibernacula in the area.
It’s amazing the people who lurk on AP - welcome Molecule!
Now I’m intrigued, who does the clearing? The military? The animals themselves? Concerned naturalists?
A number of bodies work in the area -- ARC(Amphibians and Reptiles Conservation Trust), SWT(Surrey Wildlife Trust) and some MOD Conservation Groups. SWT recently (re)discovered The Great Fox-Spider on an un-named MOD heathland area in Surrey. It had not been seen in Surrey since 1993 and was only known from 2 sightings in Dorset, plus one in Surrey. The most likely body to do the clearing are the ARC as they are "conservation partners" with the MOD mainly protecting Sand Lizards.