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If you are looking for somewhere to visit, why not visit Shortheath Common, Oakhanger, near Bordon.

Shortheath Common covers 58 hectares including heathland, mire and woodland, as well as a large pond. Shortheath is mentioned in the journals of Gilbert White, the pioneer naturalist who lived in nearby Selbourne in the 1700’s. The site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

  

The site is home to the Field Cricket (Gryllus campestris), which is extremely rare in the UK. In the 1980’s the UK population was down to fewer than 100 individuals at a single site in West Sussex. In the early 1990’s it was reintroduced to Shortheath Common and can be heard singing there between May and August.
Shortheath Common also hosts rare birds such as the Woodlark and Nightjar. The pond adds to the biodiversity of the site and 23 species of dragonfly have been recorded at Shortheath, including the scarce Clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus vulgatissimus).

Those who wish to do a longer walk could add a visit to Shortheath Common to the 7 mile ‘Monks’ Walk’ that starts/ends at Selbourne and loops through Oakhanger. For details of The Monks’ Walk, see http://www.hants.gov.uk/rh/walking/selborne.pdf

For further information about Shortheath Common, including a location map, visit https://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryside/finder/shortheathcommon

A great big thank you to everyone who came out and volunteered their time today to help litter pick Yateley Common.

The event was a huge success with 178 volunteers giving their time to spread out across the whole of Yateley Common and litter pick the entire site. With volunteers spending between 1 and 3 hours each, they collectively spent a whopping great 351.5 hours out on the Common, helping to give the site a thorough spring clean just in time for the bird nesting season, which officially starts 1st March each year.

Not only does this annual event ensure the area looks clean and tidy for visitors, it also plays the important role of removing rubbish that could harm the environment and the wildlife that lives here.  Broken glass from bottles can quite often be the cause of wild fires, which can spread easily across the dry heathland habitats. Dropped cans and bottles can quickly become death traps for mini beasts.  Dumped tyres and oil drums can leach chemicals into the soil. Fly-tipped green waste can add unwanted nutrients to the habitat and can introduce invasive plants to site. Animals that call Yateley Common home can inadvertently eat things discarded on site which can make them ill.  By removing as much rubbish from site each year as we can, hopefully we can stop these thing from happening.

This year’s volunteers have done an amazing job, in total 118 bags of rubbish was collected and items such as tyres, chairs, an oil drum, scrap metal, a water butt, wooden trellis, carpet, glass, a television, an old till and a container with 20ltrs of used engine oil were removed.

It’s been an absolutely fantastic event, and we are so grateful to everyone who took part, we hope you all get out on Yateley Common in the coming months to enjoy this wonderful site!

 

 

Well its official folks -Tomorow, 1st March, is the start of Ground Nesting Bird Season.

At this time of year our heathland sites are home to a number of rare and protected birds -the Nightjar, Dartford warbler and Woodlark. These birds build their nests on or near the ground leaving them vulnerable from disturbance by site users and in particular dogs.

During Bird nesting season, 1st March – 15th September,  we ask visitors to our sites to stick to the paths, and keep dogs under close control.

6464934503_a28813bd26_o  6464905209_b96bf62457_o Nightjar

Another good reason for keeping to the paths is that as the temperature rises we also start to see snakes and lizards emerge from hibernation.  Out on the heaths snakes can often be found basking in small areas of bare ground, and when disturbed adders have been known to bite dogs.

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Adders, Juvenile Lizard

Disturbing any wild animal can change its behaviour, which can affect its ability to survive and breed.  Please help us look after your local countryside and the wildlife that lives here by sticking to paths and keeping your dogs under close control.

 

The next Yateley Common Management Committee Meeting will be on

Wednesday 6th March, 7pm at Darby Green Centre

Come along if you are interested in Yateley Common and want to find out what’s been happening or ask any questions.

 

If you haven’t already signed up to join us this Saturday it’s not too late!  Our annual Big Spring clean, to remove as much of the litter on Yateley Common will be running 10am-1pm, and we aim to cover as much of the Common as possible.  For more information and to join us email northern.sites@hants.gov.uk or call 01252 870425.

 

 

As the winter season draws to an end and the birds start to return, this seems like a good opportunity to look back at the last few months.

The Rangers have been busy restoring heathlands and managing scrub. This involves cutting young trees and gorse down and burning the cut material so the heather and other heathland plants can thrive.

But it isn’t just the Rangers who have been working out on our sites. A huge thanks and acknowledgement has to go to those people who come and volunteer with us. We have regular volunteer groups on Yateley Common, Shortheath Common and at Zebon Copse. These volunteers give there time and effort to help us in maintaining and restoring habitats.

 

Most years we also have corporate volunteers, and this winter the scrub in the mire at Zebon Copse has been cleared by BarclayCard volunteers, which helps to maintain this wetland habitat on the edge of the woods.

We also have regular volunteers at Herbert Plantation, who help manage the woodland so the wildlife there too can thrive.

As well as our regular volunteer sessions we also run events, and at Christmas we had families come out an join us to clear scrub, and to look for and cut their own Christmas tree.         

So a big thank you again goes to all those people. You only have to walk around our sites to see the difference the volunteers make to these wonderful places.

 

Coming up:

Another group of volunteers will be helping out as Spring approaches at the Big Spring Clean 2019 event on Yateley Common. Not everyone takes there rubbish home with them after using our sites and the teams of volunteers will help us collect the rubbish to keep Yateley Common a cleaner place for us all to enjoy.

If you like getting out and about in the countryside and have some time which you could spare, please consider volunteering with ourselves or other wildlife organisations to help maintain the beautiful habitats and countryside found in Hampshire.

For more information please contact northern.sites@hants.gov.uk