7th November 2006
Highwaymen, Heathland & History
Historically the route across Yateley Common was used by travellers hoping to avoid the highwaymen that often frequented the area. But on Thursday 23rd November it serves as the first stretch of a circular walk organised by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership. A walk that provides a perfect opportunity to see some of the contrasting habitats found around Yateley - heathland, grassland, meadows and woodland - whilst giving participants an opportunity to find out some of the areaís history and seeing a Bronze Age barrow.
Did you know that most of Britainís countryside is man-made and Yateley Common is a good example of this? During the Bronze Age early man cleared the forest to make way for crops and livestock. The sandy acidic soils were soon exhausted and the area was colonised by plants such as heather and gorse which could tolerate this poor soil. Continuous grazing, together with the practices of cutting bracken, gorse, peat and turf, kept the Common open for many hundreds of years, although during the early part of last century these practices declined and birch and pine gradually began to invade.
Initially the walk crosses the lowland heathland of Yateley Common, an internationally rare and declining habitat. The route passes all the main ponds found on Yateley Common and will take in some of the higher ground, which commands scenic views of the surrounding countryside. When it comes to wildlife over 1,000 species have been recorded on the Common, although many are threatened due to the loss of heathland throughout Britain.
Suitable for keen walkers, the walk should last about three hours and will cover about seven miles, be prepared for areas of uneven ground and a few short steep climbs. Meet for a 10am start at Yateley Common gravel pit car park off the A30 near Blackwater SU 839594. Wet weather clothing plus suitable footwear are recommended. For more details ring 01252 331353 or visit .
For further information contact:
Christine Reeves, Visitor Promotions Officer on 01252 331353.
- The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership (BVCP) is funded by the County, District and Parish Councils along the River Blackwater. It works to promote community action in conservation and recreation and to protect the Valley for the enjoyment and well being of the whole community.
- Members of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership are: Hampshire County Council, Surrey County Council; the District, Town and Borough Councils of Blackwater & Hawley, Bracknell Forest, Farnham, Guildford, Hart, Rushmoor, Sandhurst, Surrey Heath, Waverley, Wokingham and Yateley.