Bourley Road, near Aldershot
OS Map 186, Grid Ref. SU847511
Client: Hampshire Wildlife Trust's Grazing for Wildlife Project
This parcel of land covers 260 hectares and forms the southernmost of ten areas in North Hampshire being managed by Hampshire Wildlife Trust in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, who own large areas for military training. The name Caesar's Camp refers to an Iron Age hillfort occupying about 11 hectares, surrounded on most sides by a series of banks and ditches, making it one of only about 50 examples nationally. Any connection with Roman soldiers appears tenuous at best. The hillfort has been scheduled as an Ancient Monument since 1981.
This designation and the use of the area by the army has kept it safe from development, and it now supports a wide variety of plants and animals, including Dartford Warbler, nightjar, woodlark and silver-studded blue butterfly. An uncommon plant here is Marsh Clubmoss, which is hanging on in spite of the threat of climate change. A herd of Luing Cattle are playing their part in the Trust's Grazing for Wildlife Project, familiar with the hummocky ground left by gravel extraction in the past.
Down in the south-west corner near the B3013-A287 roundabout, in amongst the pine trees are said to be nine Bronze Age round barrows.
We return in February, after a long absence, for some scrub clearance.
Meet at 10am on the track south of the Bourley Road, grid ref. SU834506. If heading north on the M3, leave at J5 and head towards Farnham on the A287, once past through the Odiham Bypass continue until you go up a steep hill with a roundabout at the top. Turn left here on to the B3013 Beacon Hill Road. If coming up from south east Hampshire drive into Farnham town centre and pick up the A287 at Castle Street, this will be signposted to Farnham Castle. Continue past the castle to the top of the hill and turn left at the traffic lights towards Odiham. At the next roundabout turn right on to Beacon Hill Road. Follow Beacon Hill Road and take the first right into Bourley Road, drive past Tweseldown Race Course and the meeting point is about a mile further on, on the right. Look out for our van, yellow flags or a Hampshire Wildlife vehicle.