RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Linchmere and Stanley Commons

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This walk of 2.6 miles (4.2kms) takes you around Linchmere and also Stanley Commons on the Sussex/Surrey borders.

A minor road just south of the Haslemere-Liphook B2131 has roadside bays at SU865315 for walkers. The Serpent Trail goes south, to meet the Sussex Border Path on the edge of the woods Cross over this and walk on SW on a new footpath down the track to Danley Farm. The Linchmere Society has meadows and heath here which it is managing as a bygone habitat.

On reaching the woods of Stanley Common you’ll be in woodpecker and cuckoo country. The latter might just still be calling although they will be on the way back to Africa in a week or two. It is a lovely walk along the edge of the woods if you turn sharp left just after the farm. I always hear blackcap warblers and nuthatches along this wood edge.

You reach a footpath T-junction in Ash Copse where you turn left into Poison Copse. I have no idea why that was so named.

This footpath climbs NE up the hill, and the June meadows are usually fragrant with the scent of sweet vernal grass. This is the origin of old hay meadow scents, although actually the grass is not all that palatable to stock. In the old days, farmers, my father included, sowed five per cent of Anthoxanthum ordorata in the grass mix in order to make the hay attractive to prospective purchasers later on in the winter.

On reaching Linchmere village street, turn left and almost immediately right up a minor road which brings you back on to Linchmere Common.

Here we cross the Serpent Trail, and then cross over the B2131. Turn left at bridleway crossways along track way, past expensive properties. People have planted all sorts of pines and larches around here, but there is still a lot of chestnut, birch, and oak, hazel and some rowan.

Turn left on to the footpath which climbs the hill and crosses the main road again. There are some stiles and gates.

Much of this heathland is home to Dartford warblers and nightjars. The former sing for only three days between broods and hide themselves deep in the gorse. The latter can sing all summer at dusk and dawn. They have a curious mechanical reel which can continue for a long while. They may fly around your head at dusk, clapping their long wings over their heads to frighten you away.

Then you can see the white marks the male has on tail and wing tips which appear almost luminous.