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Things to do at Ludshott Common

Pink-flowered heather at Ludshott Common, East Hampshire
Heather at Ludshott Common, East Hampshire | © National Trust Images/Rachael Warren

The heathland at Ludshott Common dates back 5,000 years and contains some of the few remaining areas of lowland heath in Europe. Discover some of the birdlife and wildlife you can see here, as well as similar heathlands and woodlands you can visit nearby.

Wildlife on Ludshott Common

Heathland wildlife living across Ludshott Common includes the silver-studded blue butterfly, green tiger beetle and sand lizard. Birdlife includes the Dartford warbler, nightjar and woodlark.

These species have specific habitat requirements – a mix of tall bushy heather, scattered trees, clumps of gorse and bare sandy patches.

Managing the habitat

In order for these species to survive, the heath is managed so that it provides the necessary mosaic of habitat.

Some woodland is retained to provide a habitat for birds like the redstart, wood warbler and goshawk. Sadly, the reptile population was destroyed by fire in 1980, but sand lizards were re-introduced to a small area in 1993 and are now thriving.

A female silver-studded blue butterfly, showing the underside of her wings, perched on a twig at Ludshott Commons, Hampshire
A female silver-studded blue butterfly at Ludshott Commons | © National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

Bramshott Chase

Although a much smaller area at 16 hectares, Bramshott Chase is similar to Ludshott Common, as it's a mixture of heathland and secondary woodland.

Where to find Bramshott Chase

Lying half a mile to the north-west of Ludshott, the Chase forms part of Bramshott Common, which is a much larger area of heathland and scrub owned and managed by the Ministry of Defence.

It contributes an additional area of habitat supporting the same bird species as Ludshott.

Grazing cattle on the chase

Common rights still apply to the chase and there is periodic grazing by cattle owned by one of the commoners. This continues a long tradition and helps keep the site in a favourable condition for a number of heathland species.

The grazing also helps reduce the need for mechanical management.

Gentle's Copse woodland

An ancient woodland that dates back to medieval times, Gentle’s Copse is comprised of coppiced sessile oaks, a tree that is rare in the south of the country. In the past, its wood was used for fuel and to make charcoal for the iron industry.

You can still see a stone-faced boundary bank that once prevented the commoners’ animals from straying into the copse.

Wide frost covered track through heathland in winter, Ludshott Common, Hampshire
Track across winter healthland at Ludshott Common | © National Trust Images / John Miller

Waggoners Wells

The three ponds at Waggoners Wells in East Hampshire are popular as a cool shady retreat in summer and for the spectacular yellows and golds of the beech trees in autumn.

The ponds are thought to have been created in the 17th century as hammer ponds for the iron industry. The old trees around it are also important for lichens – 90 different types have been found here.

Near the ford is a memorial stone to Robert Hunter, one of the founders of the National Trust. He was involved with the acquisition of Ludshott Common in 1908, and Waggoners Wells was purchased in 1919 in his memory.

Pathway through the heather on the heathland of Ludshott Common, Hampshire

Discover more at Ludshott Common

Find out how to get to Ludshott Common, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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