|HCC Site ID:||1822||Parish:||Hart Plain Havant|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:||Public Open Space. Havant District Council lease from Portsmouth City Council|
Location and Site
Wecock Common is in the Cowplain area of Havant to the west of the A3 London Road and surrounded by residential housing. It is remnant of the Forest of Bere.
Pre-1816 the site was part of the Forest of Bere. It was used for coppicing hazel, which was protected from cattle by earth boundary banks; these survive and may pre-date the trees growing on them (?300-500 years). Surrounding the coppice was the grazing area of the Common. Wecock Common is documented from the 16th century and will repay further research.
Around 1816 Wecock Common was enclosed. The land outside the boundary banks became farmland but the woodland survived. In the 1960s Portsmouth City Council bought both from a local farmer for overspill housing but drainage problems delayed development until 1974. On the intervention of Mr Brian Kidd of Portsmouth Parks Department the woodland was preserved, and Havant Borough Council now leases Wecock Common from Portsmouth City Council.
With the exception of some veteran yews, the oldest trees are growing on the boundary banks. The trees in the centre are only c150 years, suggesting that the woodland has been thinned and managed. The centre also contains coppiced hazel. A survey by John Rowe of Hampshire Wildlife Trust found mostly oak, with an underlayer of yew, holly, crab and birch. Of 80 species of flora recorded, 22 were Ancient Woodland Vascular Plants. Wecock Common supports a large number and variety of wild birds and butterflies, and in spring it is a bluebell wood.
Prior to 1816 the area was part of the Forest of Bere. Boundary banks preserve the ancient woodland, and is now a public open space surrounded by a housing development. It is a haven for birds and butterflies, with veteran trees and varied flora, which includes ancient woodland indicator plants.
HGT Research: Summer 2000