Visit to Bramshott
A visit to Bramshott Common by 18 members of the Haslemere Natural History Society proved to be a revelation of its history and its unusual flora. Pamela Lee (a Society member) led a walk around the network of paths which cross the Common to look for summer flowers.
The sward at the side of the path included Tormentil, Birdís Foot Trefoil, Lesser Stitchwort and Agrimony, and patches of Musk Mallow and Marsh Thistle were growing in the long grass behind. A Purple Emperor butterfly arrested progress and photographs were taken as it fed on the ground. Pamela explained how at the outbreak of World War I the Government had requisitioned the Common, and the British Army had organised transport of timber by horse-drawn cart up the Portsmouth Road for the building of huts. 35,000 troops, mainly Canadian, passed through during the War. Pamela brought it all to life with contemporary photographs.
Further on there was a view over Hammer Vale, just above the Prince of Wales pub and the (hidden) railway line. Bell heather in flower indicated a more acid soil, in contrast to the area round the camp where soil had been brought in to grow vegetables. Meadow Vetchling, Tufted Vetch and wild Yellow Loosestrife provided additional colour. Pamela then took the group to a stand of Betony and a very special patch of St Dabeocís Heath, a plant native to Ireland, sadly not in flower.
The group gathered at a memorial stone commemorating those Canadians who fell during the two Wars. When the A3 was widened 200 Canadian Maples were planted either side, donated by the Canadian Government.
Over 50 flowering plants were recorded, some of them courtesy of Army occupation but most of them this countryís precious indigenous heathland flowers. There were welcome bird sounds: Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff and Wren. And butterflies added interest: Comma, Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Common Skipper, Ringlets galore, a male Common Blue and a male Silver-studded Blue. Pamela had made it such an interesting morning, full of local history to learn about and plants to identify.