Who we are
The Lynchmere Society launched a successful appeal in 1997 and 125 hectares (307 acres) of Lynchmere, Stanley and Marley Commons were purchased with wide local contribution from individuals and organisations and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, on the condition that the commons were to be restored to lowland heath.
When we acquired the commons it had become largely overgrown by scrub birch, scots pine and dense bracken. Just one or two isolated areas of heather clung on in clearings, largely through the care of local residents.
Although the scrub woodland is attractive in its own right, open lowland heathland is a unique habitat, and in northern Europe, the bulk of this has disappeared over the last century.
The Lynchmere Commons were declared a local nature reserve in 1999 and the acid nature of the poor soil on the wealden lower greensand supports a wide and diverse range of species of flora and fauna.
What we do
The Lynchmere commons are now the fifth largest area of lowland heath in West Sussex and are an important area for rare heathland species of flora and fauna. Grazing has always formed a major element in achieving long term sustainability for the commons. The fenced areas have been grazed since March 2005 and this contributes greatly towards management of the commons today.
The commons are crossed by several paths and bridle-paths as well as 2 long-distance paths, the Sussex Border Path and the Serpent Trail which joins the remnants of heathland in West Sussex.
In addition to managing the heathland there is work remaining to improve the quality of the woodland areas, much of which is scrub growth and with historically little or no management.
There are remnants of possible ancient wood-pasture around the edges of Stanley Common. A low level programme of thinning to rejuvenate and improve these areas is being undertaken alongside the reintroduction of hazel and birch coppice areas.