About Us

 

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The Friends of Midhurst Common are a group of local people,whose interest is in preserving and maintaining Midhurst Common for the recreation and enjoyment of the local Community.

As of March 2021 and in line with the Government guidelines, the Volunteer Heath Team has resumed tasks on the Heath on Midhurst Common.

Working party 2021

This arrangement will remain in place for the time being in force, but will be adjusted in accordance with any changes which may be made in line with the Covid 19 Government requirements and guidelines.

There has been a change in the working arrangements. The volunteers now meet on two mornings each month, the 2nd Wednesday and the last Friday. The start time is 10am and the tasks finish approximately 1pm. Volunteers are invited to join the tasks for as long as they feel able. It is not necessary to commit to both mornings each month, come along on whichever morning would suit best.

Tools are provided, but we do ask each volunteer to bring along a pair of gardening type gloves, wear suitable clothing and footwear, also bring along refreshments and snack for coffee break time.

For more information and to register your interest, please email to either:-
Friendsofmidhurstcommon@yahoo.co.uk (our chairman) or
mcheathteam@yahoo.com which is the Volunteer Heath team

see below our Monthly photos:

 


 

Friends of Midhurst Common -Andrew Mitchell

 

During August I led a couple of guided walks around Midhurst Common as part of the MADhurst activities.  Here is a description of the route:

  • As we leave Carron Lane car park and walk through the cemetery we will see evidence of how treecreepers keep warm on the coldest winter nights
  • From there we will see the Pesthouses, allotments and a historic paddock surrounded by a bank to demarcate the area. The vegetation is different within the enclosure – in what way and why?
  • On now to the sandpits where we will imagine what the landscape looked like pre-brickworks and consider why this is an area where a rare plant is growing
  • Visit the ponds and consider the possibility of creating habitat for Sand martins and kingfishers
  • We now walk along the old railway line towards Bepton
  • Follow the Serpent Trail Northwards
  • Pass a tree in which a woodpecker has nested
  • Point out a historic Boundary Stone
  • Up to the top of Sunset Hill to see the work the Friends of Midhurst Common Heath Team have been doing to maintain the heathland
  • Back home, stopping at the new information board

If you would like to get a group of between 8 and 15 people together, I would be happy to repeat this guided walk for you.  Email me dates and times you would like to do it and I will do my best to fit in with that

Andrew Mitchell – Chairman

website:  www.friendsofmihurstcommon.co.uk

email:  friendsofmidhurstcommon@yahoo.co.uk

Bog allotment photos 2021:


March 2021 Update:

Bog Allotment – Catherine, our local basket making expert has been busy planting new finer willow variants for her use and for pollarding in the future.  She has reported a large crop last year.  Also, she has donated a lot of willow rods from the allotment to two local pre-schools. They, with C’s help are building living shelters with them for the kids.

Murray Marr – he has reported sightings of treecreepers, Marsh Tits and an increased population of Bullfinches this year – he is not sure why.  Any ideas?

Heathland work – we are hoping to resume working parties of up to 6 people from 29 March.  Post-COVID we are looking for new volunteers to work to maintain the heathland and to lead the team when out.  Training would be provided through South Downs National Park representatives.  Send me an email if you would like to discuss your potential involvement further.

 


March Newsletter 2021

Click here for full newsletter


We produce two newsletters each year, a number of our members have been regular contributors to articles to review previous editions click here


 

Links with other groups:

Midhurst Guide HQ is a hall situated in the town of Midhurst situated in the heart of the south downs. The hall is also situated right on the edge of Midhurst Common with many great paths and routes to take for various woodland adventures. Find out more click here

2015 Guest speaker for our AGM:

After the end of the formal business the members were given a talk and slide show by Kate Brickel, founder and co-ordinator of the The Petworth Community Garden. It was a hugely impressive account of a thriving organisation that delivers care, support, companionship and education to the vulnerable, the disadvantaged, the disabled, the young and old.

To fine out more click on the tow links below:


Mineral Extraction Review. For notes on this subject, please go to the latest news page. click here

The story of its original formation is as follows:-

How it all began – The Campaign to save Midhurst Common

From December 1970 Midhurst Common became a registered common, under the 1965 Commons Registration Act.

Sand pit from bank Sept 18, 2013

Quarry area 2011

In March of 1986, a development firm named Cranwell Development applied for planning permission to erect 230 houses, plus 8 shops and recreational facilities on the area of the old brickworks and part of the remaining Common (Production at the brickworks began in 1919 and ceased in 1985).

A powerful campaign against this proposed development followed, which included a letter to every household in Midhurst asking for letters of objection to be sent to the Planning Authority. The response was overwhelming, and the Planning Authority received over 700 objections plus six petitions of objections, three adult petitions and three children’s petitions.

In June 1986 planning permission was refused, but later in the year, Cranwell Development appealed against the decision and a Public Inquiry was arranged. However two weeks before the Inquiry, the developers withdrew from the appeal due to the fact that the land was registered Common Land and they would have lost the appeal.

The saga continued a year later, in June 1987, when the owner of the old brickworks site applied to de-register this area of the common. Again there were many objections and it was decided the case should go to the High Court.

Three years later the case had still not been heard in Court but a similar case was heard elsewhere in May 1990 and the outcome of that case ensured that Midhurst Common remained a registered Common, ‘preserved for the benefit of the public’.

Since those days, life on the Common has remained stable. There have been a lot of improvements in recent years, culminating in the clearance of the trees and rhododendron running down from Sunset Hill revealing once more the glorious view of the Downs.

The trees are managed by the Owners of the Common – Cowdray Estates. The South Downs National Park Authority Rangers, based in Midhurst, help to manage the heathland areas of the Common and they also have the care of Midhurst Common Open Access rights. Curiously, the Rights of Way (footpaths) are now, as from April 2011, managed by West Sussex County County Council.

OUR ROLE

Our role has now changed in line with the reduced threat to the Common and so our name was changed to ‘Friends of Midhurst Common’. We work with the National Park authority in establishing a Management Plan and there is a regular work day on the last Friday of every month.

New members of the Friends are always welcome and indeed very necessary to help keep the group in a position to influence the best care of this beautiful Common. Joining the monthly work group is an ideal way to learn more about the Common and conservation of heathland in general as well as to meet other like-minded individuals. People are welcome to come for just a short stint or for the whole day.

Other activities undertaken by the ‘Friends’ include a litter clearance twice a year, an annual Spring walk, and of course our AGM in October. A newsletter is also produced twice a year, in which articles are designed to give a general insight into the flora and fauna and to give updates of the management of the Common.

HAVE YOU KNOWN MIDHURST COMMON (West Sussex) IN THE PAST.

We are at present collating the results of surveys undertaken about 20/25 years ago, of people who lived in Midhurst and the surrounding area and had vivid memories of how Midhurst Common looked and was used.

If you have known Midhurst Common in the past, may have lived here but have now moved away, we would be pleased to hear from you. It all helps to record activities, flora and fauna, to see how it used to be, what used to be there and has now gone, or what has recently appeared. The e-mail address is e-mail: friendsofmidhurstcommon@yahoo.co.uk.

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