On 22 October 2015 I posted an article on the history of Haig’s Aquatic Farm at Beam Brook in Surrey. From the early 1900s the ‘farm’ imported fish, amphibians and reptiles from Europe each spring. I added a note later that this site had been studied by Peter Sutton since a number of populations of amphibians and reptiles survived—and some still do survive—after its closure sometime in the 1970s.
Peter Sutton, who has been fasciated by the site and its animals from the age of 8, has recently written an article describing Beam Brook. He covers its history, the introduced animals which have died out over the years and studies on the populations that have survived. Peter has been responsible with others and the help of the landowners for regeneration of the habitat in recent years.
The article is in the the magazine British Wildlife of June 2019, illustrated by photographs and a plate of drawings by Denys Ovenden.
The surviving populations have provided material for what amount to ecological studies as a result of an unintentional ‘natural experiment’. These Peter Sutton has also described in his excellent article.
British Wildlife is now part of NHBS Ltd. More information on buying copies and subscriptions here.
Sutton P. 2019. Beam Brook and its place in the history of British herpetology. British Wildlife 30 (5, June 2019), 353-359.