If you follow the nature trail that starts at Wyndham’s Pool, you’ll find eight plaques, each with the image of a plant, bird or animal that might be found on heathlands like Yateley Common. If you take crayons, the instructions and the free downloadable rubbing sheet with you, you can even complete your own heathland picture. Such a lovely way for families to discover the wildlife and history of the common, and a little bit about how it’s managed.
One of the birds you’ll find on the plaques is the Dartford Warbler, very much at home here at Yateley. Another is the Nightjar, shown on the plaque above, a bird that arrives from Africa in May, to make Yateley its second home for the summer. You can help keep them, and other wildlife, safe by following a few simple requests. Please keep to the main paths, always pick up after your dogs and keep them close to you on the paths. Because Nightjars nest right on the ground, and Dartford Warblers in low-growing vegetation, they’re easily scared off and that’s why we say #PawsOnPathsPlease at this time of year. It’s not necessarily that dogs chase or even harm the birds, but if these sensitive birds are repeatedly scared off, they’ll eventually abandon their nests. If you keep to the woodland areas, you’ll be helping them by giving them space. The Nightjars will stay until mid September, maybe a little longer if this heat continues, so we’re still not quite in the clear.
Either side of Yateley Common, you’ll find other heathlands, including parts of the MOD’s training estate and Forestry England plantations, collectively creating a huge swathe of protected heathland through this area. Please do help us spread the word…by keeping to the main paths and helping to prevent fires, we’ll protect the birds and other wildlife, and help to keep this important part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area safe for future generations.
Good to know…
Find a free car park just off the A30, London Road, Yateley GU17 0AN. What3Words: jigsaw.spike.novels. At Wyndham’s Pool, off Cricket Hill Lane, Yateley GU46 6BB. What3Words: power.eased.ranked. And at the Heathland Cemetery, accessed via Stevens Hill, Yateley GU46 6AZ. What3Words: lawfully.interlude.tutored.
Dogs on paths please and under close control.
If you’re a regular dog walker and would like to try somewhere new, our top recommendations are Shepherd Meadows on the A321, Marshall Road (1.7 miles), Horseshoe Lake on Mill Lane (2.7 miles) or Ambarrow Court on the A321, Wokingham Road (2.9 miles). Or if you live to the south of the Common, Bramshot Farm Country Park (4.4 miles) is also a great option. Our ‘Greenspace on your doorstep’ pages have lots more options too.
The heathland at Yateley Common is managed by the Hampshire Countryside Service and they provide more information and contact details on their website. If you’re interested in practical volunteering, they’d be pleased to hear from you. There’s more information about volunteering here.
Yateley Common gallery…
[Click on the images for the full size versions, and to see the captions for more information]
I took most of these photographs on a recent visit and our wardens also visit Yateley Common regularly. We’re there to spread the word about this special place and help visitors enjoy their visits without disturbing the wildlife. Please follow us on social media, we’d love to share more of the magic of heathland with you.
Thank you everyone 🙏
Thames Basin Heaths Partnership