In 1998 The Lynchmere Society purchased 307 acres of Stanley, Lynchmere and Marley commons from the Cowdray Estate which are collectively referred to as the Lynchmere Commons. The commons are located between Liphook and Haslemere and can be partially seen from the B2131 Liphook-Haslemere road. A remnant of the extensive lowland heaths in West Sussex, like many other heathland areas following WWII, the commons fell into disuse as grazing and other traditional usage ceased.
Over 40 years with no management the character of the commons changed as the heathland species yielded to invasive scrub, primarily Birch and Pine, and bracken. By 1998 the commons were almost entirely Birch and Pine scrub woodland with small patches of heather hanging on.
The Lynchmere Society commenced management of the commons in 1998 and reclaimed large areas of heathland in the first 5 years of management. 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. In it’s second five year plan the Society embarked upon a project to fence and graze the commons. 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 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.
The Lynchmere and Stanley commons are bounded by the Forestry Commission Iron Hill plantation to the south of Stanley, the Highfield estate to the West, Stanley and Danley Farms to the East and the Cowdray Estate to the North. The Marley compartments are largely bordered by individual properties, but the National Trust is the major neighbour to the East of Marley Common.
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. A disabled path has been created to allow access to Lynchmere common and there are plans to extend this. The commons are open access land under the CROW (Countryside and Rights Of Way) act which means that walkers have a right of access across the land.
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 possibly 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.
Conservation aims [links to pages]
Facts and figures
Belted Gallow Cows
17th Century Barn
Cycle of growth on the commons
POLITE NOTICE TO DOG OWNERS.
Please pick up your dogs mess if on pathways or in cattle fields.
Come see for yourself
No ripples please.
Please respect nature and take your litter home with you.