Bircher Common

Overview
Bordered by the Croft woods to the west, Bircher Common is an extensive open area which can attract a variety of heathland and woodland birds. From the bracken-covered heath with gorse and small deciduous trees around the cottages and farms, the Common rises towards the north to open grazing, giving views across the county. Conifer plantations include Oaker Coppice enclosed by a ring of mature pine and beech trees. The mixed deciduous area near Highwood in the south-west includes old trees, notably Lime, Sweet Chestnut and Oak.

Directions, parking, access times and other facilities
Map reference: SO 462 664
Sat Nav/Post Code: HR6 0BN (approx.)

Vehicular access: Directions from B4362 road. Main access points: (1) Welshman’s Lane, signposted Bircher Common. After cattle grid, most visitors take rough track to right and park on open common at SO 466 663. (2) For western side of Common, take lane signposted Highwood (and Croft Castle brown sign). Continue up lane and after cattle grid, take track to right. Some parking on left, with more parking space after about 150 metres.

Access by foot: Oaker Coppice is fenced and has four access points for walkers: gates on the east and west sides, and stiles at the south-east and north-east points.

Other facilities: No immediate facilities. Facilities available at Croft Castle for NT visitors. Yarpole Church has a shop and cafe, which does lunches Monday to Saturday.

Maps:
Ordnance Survey Landranger Sheets 148 & 149 and Explorer Sheet 203.
OS Map View (1:25,000)

What to see:
Resident Bullfinch. Siskin, Linnet, Greenfinch. Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Buzzard, Tawny Owl, Jay, Raven. Occasionally Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Red Kite.
Winter Redwing, Fieldfare. Occasionally Brambling. Historic site for Great Grey Shrike, last recorded March 2011.
Summer Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Stonechat, House Martin, Swallow, Cuckoo.
Spring/autumn Occasionally Wheatear.
Resources:
Croft Castle www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croft-castle-and-parkland; Yarpole Church http://www.yarpole.com/index.php/gallery-café and http://www.yarpole.com/index.php/yarpole-community-shop;
Mortimer Trail http://www.exploremortimercountry.com/s4l54/walking-mortimer-trail.htm.
Nearby sites:
The National Trust woodlands to Croft Castle and Croft Ambrey Fort adjoin the Common and contain fishpools. The Mortimer Trail passes across the north of the Common.