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Since the great storm of 1987, the Conservators have taken a more active approach towards the management of the Commons.  Until this year (2017), we have been following a management plan produced for the Commons by Kent Wildlife Trust.  This plan balanced biodiversity and conservation with the needs of the many Commons users.

This year a new management plan has been adopted by the Conservators which is similar to the previous one although the emphasis has changed slightly.

The Management Plan 2017 can be read here, and the previous one, the 2005 Management Plan, can be read here. 

Current Work

This is an extract from the Wardens report for September 2017:

The proposed new flight of steps leading to Fir Tree pond has now been installed and I hope the second flight will have gone in on Rusthall Common by the time of our meeting.

The path leading from the Marlpit pond to Common View has had its hard surface extended to assist access in the Winter and we have replaced a number of our anti-parking posts that have rotted.

We are now up to cut nine of our twelve scheduled cuts of the amenity grass areas and we are well underway with clearing tracks and paths.


The Coming Season

In accordance with our new management plan, we are now starting to change the cutting regime on our glades and clearances. In order to create a variety of age ranges of vegetation and greater diversity of habitat, we will be leaving areas within our new clearances uncut for one or two years on a rotational basis.

Heathland regeneration has always been a management plan priority and we now have some promising sites which we will be concentrating our efforts on. The Kent High Weald Project, who gave a great deal of assistance with the management plan, will be spending two days on these sites this Autumn with their volunteers, clearing invasive birch and bramble.

Our volunteers will be focusing on another aspect of the plan: the clearance of our rock outcrops. Last year, the volunteers re-exposed sections of Edgcumbe Rocks that were becoming lost under vegetation, this year we plan to clear Wellington Rocks. 

Our ponds make a vital contribution to the diversity of the Commons and they too require active management. As with all stillwaters, the natural process of succession will cause our ponds to silt up and disappear unless we take action to reverse it. To that end, we will be partially de-silting Fir Tree pond this Autumn, removing the silt from about a third of the pond, leaving plenty behind to re-colonise the cleared area.  

Please follow this link to read the full text of all the recent Warden's Reports.
Although all the work requiring specialists or equipment is done by professionals, the Conservators rely heavily on the goodwill of volunteers to do much of the clearing through the autumn, winter and spring.  These voluntary work parties are organised by the Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons, and meet on the first Saturday of the month from October to March at 10.00, usually at the Fir Tree Road car park.   Everyone is very welcome, however little or much you can do.   If you do plan to join, please let us know so that we can confirm where we are meeting.

These are the dates for this winter:

14 October 2017
4 November 2017
2December 2017
6 January 2018
3 February 2018
3 March 2018

If you haven't helped before and would like further information, please contact the Warden at the office on 01892 554250 or by email at info@twcommons.org.  Alternatively, pay a visit to the Friends website.  You can join the Friends using their membership page.


Page last updated: 11/10/2017