Haslemere Natural History Society

Providing a focus for enthusiastic naturalists of all ages

Midhurst Common

Date: 31 July 2021
Field Meeting

Leader: Murray Marr accompanied by Friends of Midhurst Common.
Murray has studied the history of the Common in detail, has made maps going back to 1550 and kindly produced a leaflet for our 12 members.
200 years ago Scots Pine was introduced on the bare heath as ornamental planting and with little grazing and being self-seeded has spread and adapted to the poor soils.
In wet heath areas Purple Moor Grass grows. Cross-leaved Heath and Bell Heather were in flower with heather about to do so.  Deep in the bracken a marker stone (1793) was located.  This was one of four and showed the boundary between Midhurst and Woolbeding Manors.  Commoners had the right of turbary, i.e. cutting of peat and turf as fuel.
Near the Pest House (1741) chalk and lime were brought in to neutralise the acid soil so the inmates could cultivate food.  Now it is deciduous mixed woodland.
The flat, open sandy area with three ponds was the base of a sandpit.  Here grow Common Wintergreen, Blue Fleabane, Smooth Cat’s Ear and Yellow-wort. 
Murray commented: “The Common is really a place of mixed-up habitats.”

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