The Lynchmere Society
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The Society ownership extends to cover large parts of Marley, Lynchmere and Stanley commons. The Marley area is separate from that of the Lynchmere and Stanley areas. Each area of common has differing characteristics and for the management plan they are divided into a total of 12 compartments which can be viewed here.
Stanley Common (comprising compartments 1 to 4)
Stanley Common lies to the south east of Liphook and is adjacent to the Forestry Commission land at Iron Hill, on its western boundary. The common lies within the Wealden Greensand Heaths Natural Area, as defined by English Nature, and sits on lower greensand soils. The western and central parts of the common (compartment 1) contain wooded heath, with a scattered to medium density of birch, pine, oak and sweet chestnut trees aged between approximately 50 – 120 years. In this area the understorey is mainly of bracken and bilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus) . The eastern end of compartment 1 has been restored to lowland heath and the regrowth of both ling and bell heather is encouraging. This is threatened by invasive birch growth.

In the south-west and the north-east part (compartment 2) there are dense stands of younger Scots pine aged c. 20 – 50 years. There is also a small triangular section of birch coppice which is being managed. This now rare form of coppice was used traditionally to provide a range of birch products and in the Lynchmere area would once have been the dominate form of woodland management with birch or besom brooms the primary product. This small area in compartment 3 is being cut on a 3 or 4 year cycle by traditional billhook and the birch is used for race course hurdles.

The largest area of open heath is found at the eastern end of the common, with dry heath, dominated by ling ( Calluna vulgaris ) on the better-drained , SW-facing slopes, humid heath, with ling and cross-leaved heath ( Erica tetralix ) on the plateau, and wet heath, dominated by purple moor grass ( Molinia caerula ), in the valley bottom and east-facing slope. A number of dead trees are found, both standing and fallen. A corridor has been cut through the pine connecting the open heath of compartment 1 with that on compartment 4.

Until recently, the site received little active management, apart from occasional forestry thinning. However, since the Lynchmere society took over in 1998, there has been a considerable amount of heathland restoration work carried out. As a result of the first 5 year of restoration the area of open heathland has been increased and the regrowth of heather and other healthland species is dramatics. This regrowth has been accompanied by a the stabilisation of wildlife surveyed and encouraging increases in sightings of heathland birds such as the nightjar, Dartford warbler and woodlark for example.

To the north-east of Stanley common the plateau narrows into a ridge running north-south (compartment 4), and this is covered on the north side by broad-leaved woodland, mainly birch, with some oak and chestnut (compartment 3). Other than some very light thinning and maintenance compartment 3 is being left.. There are a few veteran oak pollards aged between c. 200 – 500 years, especially along the eastern boundary, where an interesting series of parallel banks and ditches, or sunken lanes occur. The eastern end of the plateau has largely been restored to open heathland and the regrowth of heather is well advanced in several places. On the south side of the compartment 4 the plateau is largely pine woods.

Lynchmere Common (Compartments 5 through to 10)

The end of the Stanley Common plateau merges into Lynchmere Common to the north, and this runs east-west, straddling the Lynchmere road and continuing on to Hammer.

Lynchmere Common includes areas of dry and humid heath, solid bracken, acid grassland, and secondary birch woodland. Large areas are being restored or re-created back to heathland, and there are sizeable patches of bare ground resulting both from tree felling operations and deliberate scraping.

The ponds in compartment 5, which lie at the Eastern end of the Danley valley have been extensively restored, largely by efforts of the Lynchmere Society volunteers. The lower pond has recently been scraped with machinery to restore it to its original size.

The oak woods at the Eastern end of compartment 5 have been recently cleared of birch which was crowding out the oaks. This process will continue gradually and with consideration for the understorey flora, parficularly the pink wood sorrel which is extensive in this area.

Compartments 6,7 and 8 continue northwards and comprise mixed areas of restored heathland interspersed with birch woodland and along the eastern boundaries a continued band of oak and hazel woodland. The hazel shows signs of past coppicing and the management plan continues to encourage the areas of hazel coppice along the eastern edges.

Compartments 9 and 10 lie to the north of the road between the B2131 and Lynchmere hamlet. Compartment 10 is a 30 metre band around the edge of the triangular area and primarily consists of birch woodland with some oak on the eastern edges. Compartment 9 has been largely restored to open heathland with remaining copses of birch and some oak and rowan in the open areas. Regrowth of heather on compartment 10 is well advanced.

Marley Common (Compartments 11 and 12)

There are two parts to Marley Common, the western area is open dry heath (restored), fringed by birch/pine woodland. The eastern portion is partly a managed “high forest” of Scots pine, and partly a mixed woodland of birch/pine/oak with a dense understorey of holly. Bracken and bilberry occur as the dominant ground flora on this eastern compartment (Compartment 12).

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