Hamble Conservation Volunteers
History of Hamble Common
The earliest evidence of humans on the Common is the ditch and bank running right across the site that is thought to have protected an iron-age settlement. Since Tudor times the Common has been used to help protect Southampton Water. In 1543, King Henry Vlll had St. Andrew's Castle built here, one of several sited along the Solent to defend against French invasion. All that remains today are a few foundation stones exposed at low tide. To help protect Southampton and the nearby oil terminals during World War 2 an anti-aircraft gun was sited near Hamble Point and a similar Bofors gun is on display to indicate the site's defensive importance in times past. Today the common is much quieter, and an ideal place to walk and relax.
However, this interesting and diverse environment is only semi-natural being the product of thousands of years of grazing and the removal of turf and scrub for fuel. The disappearance of these traditional activities means that without suitable intervention our Common would revert to scrub land or dense woodland with the loss of many of our plants and wildlife and that is where we come in.