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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 March 2018:

Adverse weather has impacted quite seriously on our work schedule this quarter and a number of our planned tasks have had to be deferred until later in the year.

Happily, not all our work has been affected, only that requiring the heavy machinery. A swathe of the holly trees adjacent to Major York's Road have been heavily reduced, down to around six foot in height.  These will now start to shoot from the base, creating a dense hedge in the next three or four years which will provide an efficient barrier against road noise in future.  This also has the benefit of allowing far more light into the interior of the Common.

Birch and cherry laurel scrub has been cleared adjacent to the A264 at Bishops Down to expose a magnificent large leaved lime which was previously largely hidden.  The newly cleared area in front of the tree will be kept as grass and I hope to encourage further wildflower species in the sward in the next few years.

Members may have noticed a large fungal bracket at the base of the big red oak near the traffic light at the junction of London Road and Church Road.  This is Ganoderma pfeifferi, Beeswax bracket fungus; quite a rarity.  Unfortunately, however, like all Ganodermas, this produces a severe rot in the roots and base of the tree and is likely to prove terminal in the coming years.  The loss of the tree can be delayed by carrying out a twenty five percent reduction.

As part of the new Management Plan implementation, the Volunteers have concentrated on clearance of rock outcrops over the winter.  Wellington Rocks have been greatly improved by their efforts, as were Edgcumbe Rocks last year, and they have also cleared a number of the named rocks at Denny Bottom. 


The Coming Season

Amenity grass cutting will commence at the end of March with fortnightly cuts throughout the season.  As the weather permits, we will carry out our annual seat renovation programme and, once the soil is dry enough to avoid undue damage, we will be constructing surfaced paths on the boggy sections of the Racecourse on either side of Major York's Road, to provide dry, year round access in future. It may be necessary to delay this until later in the summer if we have a wet spring.

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: 02/05/2018