Hankley Common is a common near Elstead, Surrey, England. It is an area of heathland with sandy infertile soil. The dry areas are covered in common heather (Calluna vulgaris) and bell heather (Erica cinerea) with patches of bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)
Atlantic Wall reconstruction 
D-Day training sites were created in Britain in order to practice for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Northern France by allied forces in 1944.
In 1943, in an area of the common known as the Lion's Mouth, Canadian troops constructed a replica of a section of the Atlantic Wall. It is constructed from reinforced concrete and was used as a major training aid to develop and practise techniques to breach the defences of the French coast prior to the D-Day landings.
The wall is about 100m (328 ft) long, 3m (10 ft) high by 3.5m (11.5 ft) wide. It is divided into two sections between which there were originally huge steel gates. Nearby are other obstacles such as dragon's teeth, huge reinforced concrete blocks and lengths of railway track set in concrete and wire entanglements. Much of the relics show clear signs of live weapons training and the main wall has two huge breaches caused by a variety of demolition devices including the Double Onion: a specialised demolition vehicle, one of Hobart's Funnies, based on the Churchill tank.
The reinforced concrete was made with thick rebars varying from 10 to 20mm (0.39 to 0.79 in) thick.
Over the years the wall has become colonised by alkaline-loving lichens, mosses, ferns and other plants because the concrete provides the lime-based substrate that these species require and which is found nowhere else in the locality. They present an unusual range of plants to be found in an expanse of acid heathland.
The preservation of the Wall is managed by Army Training Estates with the assistance of the MOD Hankley Conservation Group.
The Wigwam Murder 
In 1942, Hankley Common was the site of a murder. The victim was a woman who was living rough in a crude shelter made of tree branches in the manner of a wigwam, and so the newspapers gave her the nickname of "Wigwam Girl". She was eventually identified as Joan Pearl Wolfe.
On 7 October 1942, two soldiers noticed an arm protruding from a shallow grave. On inspection, the badly decomposed body of a fully clothed woman was found. A pathologist concluded that the woman had been stabbed with a hooked-tipped knife, but that the cause of death was a heavy blunt instrument and that the attack had occurred elsewhere. A police search of the common turned up the dead woman's Identity Card and a letter to a Canadian soldier called August Sangret who was of North American Indian ethnic origin. The letter informed Sangret that she was pregnant. When the police interviewed Sangret, he admitted having intimate relations with the girl and living with her in a tree wigwam. A heavy birch branch, with blood stains, was found near the grave and blood stains were found on Sangret's recently washed battledress. Later, a hooked-tip knife was found blocking a waste pipe.
Sangret was charged with Wolfe's murder, he was tried and convicted in February 1943. The jury who took two hours to reach their verdict made a strong recommendation to mercy. Before sentence of death was passed Sangret declared: "I am not guilty. I never killed that girl." Sanget's appeal was dismissed and he was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 29 April 1943.
Golf course 
Film and television 
Hankley Common has been uncommonly popular with fictional time travellers. It featured in Doctor Who and the Silurians and in Blackadder Back and Forth. It was also used in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough and as the site of the eponymous house in Skyfall. Tenko was filmed on the common.
In the fourth series of Ultimate Force, the Drop Zone huts and surrounding area were used to shoot a Colombian forces training camp.
- "Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2006.
- Image of Hankley Common dedication plaque.
- Hankley Common Trials - WO 195/4238. The Catalogue, The National Archives
- http://www.shepheard.plus.com/atlanticwall/ A Sea Wall In Surrey?.
- "The Wigwam Case". British Military & Criminal History in the period 1900 to 1999. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
- Tony West. "Actual Case Histories from the Black Museum". Retrieved 28 October 2006.
- Sentence Of Death For Murder Of Girl. The Times 3 March 1943 p8 column D
- Court Of Criminal Appeal, Murder Of A Girl: Appeal Dismissed. The Times 13 April 1943 p2 column E
- "Hankley common, England". Top 100 Gold Courses of the World. Retrieved 4 December 2006.
- "Hankley common Golf Club". Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- "Hankley Common". Doctor Who Locations. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
- "Blackadder filming on Hankley Common". Blackadder Hall. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
- Bomb alert hits 'Tenko' beauty spot
- The National Archives - repository of UK government records.
- WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at http://bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar.
- Lunn, Arthur (6 April 2007). "Murdered in the heroes 'drop' zone". The News.
Further reading 
- William Foot. The Battlefields That Nearly Were: Defended England, 1940. Stroud: Tempus Publishing, 2006. ISBN 0-7524-3849-2.
- Hankley and Elstead Commons (MOD)
- Hankley & Elstead Commons (Surrey Wildlife Trust)
- A Sea Wall in Surrey? - D-Day preparations on Hankley Common
- Hankley Common, Surrey
- Thursley, Hankley and Frensham Commons, SSSI notification