When you think of London, your thoughts perhaps don’t turn immediately to stunning countryside and England’s green and pleasant land - but if you move to Croydon in the near future, you may well find that you’re now living in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), despite the fact that you’re living in one of the biggest cities in the world.

According to the local council, local businesses, residents and community groups are now being surveyed about a proposal to extend the boundary of the Surrey Hills to include parts of Croydon.

At the moment, the existing AONB is on the edge of the borough in Surrey, but new Natural England field research suggests that the boundary should be extended so that it covers both Farthing Downs and Happy Valley.

Both of these lovely little local beauty spots are renowned for their countryside walks and wonderful wildlife and biodiversity. As such, they’re already afforded protection as sites of special scientific interest and they’re also denoted as national nature reserves, but including them as an AONB would give them even more legal protections so that future generations can enjoy them for years to come.

Executive mayor of Croydon Jason Perry said: “This review recognises the natural beauty in the borough and the importance of protecting these landscapes for future generations to enjoy. 

“We would recommend getting involved in this survey and, if you can, pay a visit to Happy Valley and Farthing Downs to see for yourself the countryside we have available to us on our doorstep.”

Farthing Downs is open all year round so there are plenty of opportunities for exploration and, as well as some amazing walks through the countryside, you’ll also get some incredible views of the London skyline.

As for Happy Valley, this nature reserve covers more than 250 acres of downland grass and wooded slopes - and is widely acknowledged as being one of the most beautiful local valleys to be found. What better reason could there be for relocating to Croydon?

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