Marley Common in West Sussex, is a mixed broadleaf woodland and open heath. It's one of our oldest countryside acquisitions, having its centenary in 2011.
The Common has had an interesting past: it was used as an army training ground during the Second World War, and during the 1950s and 1960s it suffered terrible fires which swept across the open heath. This later period was also the time when grazing ceased on Marley and the common soon became overgrown with scrub and trees.
Today, after much work and the introduction of belted Galloway cattle, Marley is returning to its former glory. A chestnut woodland provides us with fuel and fencing material. The wood is valuable as a renewable source, but the true value of coppicing lies in the wildlife that responds to recently cleared glades.
In late spring the subtle greenish-yellow flowers and the vibrant sulphur colour of the Brimstone butterfly, are especially attractive, and a sure sign that spring has well and truly sprung.