Chislehurst and St. Paul’s Cray Commons are the ‘crown jewels’ of Chislehurst. They hold not only exceptional beauty but also an astonishing amount of history, and are the pride of Chislehurst. They are protected by an Act of Parliament and managed for the enjoyment of all by a Board of Trustees, whose working title is ‘Chislehurst Commons’, and, with the support of the community, will be here for hundreds of years more.
The Commons provide a diverse range of habitats in the form of ponds, the most visible being Prickend Pond at the southern end of the High Street and Rush Pond by Ashfield Lane, and wetlands, heathlands, grasslands and woodlands. These habitats are home to a surprising range of birds, animals and plants. If you pause on a daily walk and stop, look and listen, you’ll be surprised by what you can see and hear. Look up at the trees and breathe in the smells of the woodlands.
The Act of Parliament set out a Scheme of Management. With 180 acres to oversee, the Board, the two Commons Keepers and the wonderful volunteers are kept busy 12 months a year. In addition to carrying out routine maintenance work, they are continually looking at ways to improve and build biodiversity and meet the challenges of our ever-changing climate.
There is no guaranteed funding attached to the Act of Parliament. Limited funding comes from the London Borough of Bromley, so Chislehurst Commons rely on donations from the community to provide two thirds of the money required to maintain the Commons. The Trustees employ two full-time Keepers whose knowledge and expertise are invaluable, everyone else involved in managing and maintaining the area does so on a voluntary basis.
Donations towards their costs can be made here
A little bit of history:
The 180 acres managed by Chislehurst Commons is historically two Commons, Chislehurst Common and St Paul’s Cray Common. They were the common land of the local Manors. The two Commons were owned by the Lord of the Manor of Scadbury, but were bought in 2017 through the efforts of ‘Chislehurst Commons’ by our very own Chislehurst Society. However, the responsibility for administering, managing and maintaining the Commons, including raising all necessary funds, lies entirely with ‘Chislehurst Commons’.
Since before the time of William the Conqueror, people have had rights to access common land and Chislehurst residents have fought hard over hundreds of years to protect the 180 acres here in Chislehurst from exploitation and from being fenced off and sold. The land today cannot be used for anything but for the benefit of the community and because it is protected it will always be Chislehurst Commons.
The full history of the Commons can be found here
The Commons are a phenomenal asset to Chislehurst – not only is their beauty a daily reminder of how lucky we all are to live here, but also, they hold great value to the area through recreation, house prices and clean air.
We very much take this natural beauty around us for granted but a lot of paddling goes on under the water to make it all run smoothly and continually evolve.
The Trustees and volunteers are actively involved with national programmes to ensure that Chislehurst is part of a change for the future with regard to biodiversity and climate change. They are in contact with other local conservation groups such as KRAG – (Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group), and the National Trust, in order to share knowledge from their own work and learning and add to a database that is used across the country. They are also linked to a national community of greenspaces to ensure best practice and sharing of information. As testimony to their efforts, they have been rewarded every year from 2018 with the internationally recognised Green Flag Award.
For further information on the wonderful work of the Trustees, Keepers and Volunteers click here
So please support our work and continue to make Chislehurst Commons a place for everyone to enjoy.
HELP! Chislehurst Commons need a new truck!
The Chislehurst Commons truck is a feature of life in Chislehurst and an essential tool for Jonathan and Peter to carry out their duties on the Commons. It needs to be available every day. Unfortunately, the current 15 year old truck is proving to be unreliable, costly to repair, and suffering corrosion, and so the economic solution is to replace it. The cost of replacement will be £32,000 after excellent discounts from Toyota, and the Commons Trustees are seeking to raise £10,000 towards this cost. Your support in achieving this sum would be greatly appreciated. Without funding, their essential work for the Commons and the community could be severely impacted.
All donations welcome no matter how small or LARGE – to donate, please CLICK HERE