We sometimes walk at Witley Common, a slice of typical Surrey heathland sandwiched between the A3 and the A286. The bit I go to most is a little secret spot where you can find the rare Smooth Snake (which I’ve seen multiple times) and the equally rare Sand Lizard (which I’ve yet to see). In the last few weeks, though, we discovered the Milford Common bit, which I’d missed out on until now. It’s an easy walk around a really pleasant area of mixed heath and woodland, covered at this time of year with a profusion of wildflowers. More of those to follow; I thought it’d be interested to see how many different species of flower I could photograph (15). I was also intrigued as to why there were so many hawthorn trees which had been almost felled – that is, the trunks cut around five sixths of the way through, then the tree pushed over to allow it to sprout again. Many trees had been felled in this way, creating layered thickets of hawthorn. Hopefully my pictures will illustrate this better than my words can.
When I searched around for information on this I found that the hawthorn trees were planted during WWII by Polish soldiers who were stationed at Witley, apparently to remind them of home. The thickets are being created to encourage the nesting of Nightingales.