Marley consists of part heathland and part mature woodland. The heathland to the south is on the highest parts of Marley but, being almost entirely enclosed by woodland, it is far less exposed than Hindhead Common or Black Down. Like the other commons, as grazing died out, so the landscape became over-run by scrub woodland. However, drastic work to restore the main heathland area in 2007 and 2008, followed by the introduction of a small herd of Belted Galloway cattle to keep the scrub at bay has successfully re-established an open landscape of heather, gorse and bilberry with scattered pine, birch and beech trees.
Marley Wood on the slopes to the north boasts mature pine and some magnificent beech along old boundary banks with a productive area of chestnut coppice. The coppice is managed on the traditional 20-year felling rotation cycle and provides both the Black Down estate and National Trust properties all over the country with fencing posts.
How to get there
Access to Marley Common is via Marley Lane which runs from Camelsdale (near Shottermill Ponds) to Kingsley Green on the A286 south of Haslemere.
Where to park
Park in the free National Trust car park on Marley Lane, map ref SU887312.
What to look for
The open heathland is particularly fine in late summer as the purple flowering heather gives way to the brilliance of the rowan berries on the mountain ash. The mature, mostly pine woodland has some magnificent beech along a wide avenue leading down to Camelsdale and a fine plantation of hemlock on the escarpment over Marley Combe Road.
Fauna and Flora of particular interest
The green hairstreak butterfly which likes to lay its eggs on the plentiful new gorse shoots is often seen on Marley Common which also boasts a well-established colony of lovely yellow brimstone butterflies. In spring, the gorse flowers fill the air with a wonderful fragrance of a coconut-like scent.
For more information and a site map click here to go to the National Trust site.
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