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Events for 2017

A list of this year's events can be found here


New Management Plan

The Conservators have recently adopted a new management plan to supersede the last ten year management plan, introduced in 2005.  The new plan does not show any radical departures, although there are some shifts in emphasis.

The new plan, together with appendices and accompanying documents, can be found on Management Plan 2017.

The Conservators would welcome your views.  Please forward email comments to info@twcommons.org.




Winter Work Parties

Volunteer winter work parties will be starting again in October on the following dates:

1 October 2016
November (date to be announced)
3 December 2016
7 January 2017
4 February 2017
4 March 2017

They start at 10.00am, generally at Fir Tree car park, but sometimes at Toad Rock.  If you have not volunteered before, please let the office (info@twcommons.org)
 have a note of your email address and you will be included in the email reminder.  

Hospice 10K run

This year's 10K run will be taking place on 25 September starting and finishing, as usual, on the Common.  Please note that temporary road closures will be in place.

Rusthall Bonfire

This will take place on 30 October 2016 at Common View.

Land Swap

The developers of Union Square found an interesting anomaly when they examined the existing development and car park.  Two small portions, currently under tarmac, were found to be registered Common land.  As there is no public amenity value whatever to land already developed, the Conservators agreed that they could swap this with a piece of land adjacent to the Common that could be incorporated into the Common. The Planning Inspectorate was applied to for permission to deregister the built on portions and register instead a new piece of land as Town and Village Green.  He has today (9 Feburary 2016) approved this change.

The Conservators' precept, under the County of Kent Act 1981, is strictly for the maintenance of the Commons as specified on the map accompanying the Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act 1890.  The Commons Act (under which the Commons are registered as Town and Village Green) also precludes additions to the registered area.  Accordingly Dandara, the Union Square developers, will register the new area as a separate Town and Village Green and provide the Conservators with an annual sum for maintenance for the next twenty years.  After this time they will need to reach a new agreement with the Conservators.

The land in question adjoins the Common on Hungershall Park on the north side.  Visitors will note work being done to remove the hedge between this land and the Common.  The venerable trees there will not be touched, although some tree surgery will be required on some of them.




Puppet Fair

On Saturday 10 October 2015 there is a day of puppetry going on in arts venues all over Tunbridge Wells, including the Forum.  This is the brochure.



Winter work parties

The Friends of the Commons will shortly be starting their volunteer winter work parties under Steve's supervision.  These are the dates:

Saturday 3rd October 2015
Saturday 7th November 2015
Saturday 5th December 2015
Saturday 2nd January 2016
Saturday 6th February 2016
Saturday 5th March 2016 

Meet at 10.00 in Fir Tree Car Park.

If you have not volunteered before, please get in touch with us or the Friends, via their website www.friendsofthecommons.co.uk


Rusthall Bonfire

The Rusthall Bonfire and torchlight procession will be held on 31 October 2015. 


Heritage Open Day Walk

Steve will be conducting a walk on Tunbridge Wells Common this Sunday, 13 September 2015, as part of Heritage Open Days.  The walk will last about two hours, and will cover some rough terrain, so will not be suitable for buggies or wheelchairs.  Meet at Fir Tree car park at 10.30, rain or shine.



Family Event this Saturday

Date: 6th September 2014
Name: Common Vision Family Fun
Where: Common View, Rusthall Common (TN4 8RG)
 
What’s happening?:
 
Join in with this fun afternoon of arts, crafts and
mini beast hunting. You can pick up your free copy
of the brand new Walking Trail leaflets and enjoy a ‘Wander
with the Warden’ at 1.30! From 12pm to 3pm.
 
The event is available to tweet via our website - http://khwp.org.uk/component/ohanah/common-vision-family-fun


Jade

You will have read Steve's blog giving you the very sad news of Jade's death.  Not surprisingly we have a number of pictures of Jade over the years, and these will be placed in the gallery when the temperamental content management system allows.  In the meantime, these are some of those pictures.  They were all taken in 2007 except the last, where the date is unknown.


































































































Leaflets and Maps

Two new leaflets are being launched which will help everyone to explore all those mysterious paths on Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons and identify those odd shaped rocks.

 
Download Tunbridge Wells Common leaflet      




 Download Rusthall Common leaflet


The leaflets, one for each Common, have huge, accurate, A3 size maps in the centre pages which are entirely new and up to date and based on the latest GPS mapping. The maps have been designed to clearly show all the paths and main features. 
 
There are suggested walks for newcomers to the Commons which take in those places that everyone should see, as well as all the necessary information for people who know the Commons a little better and want to explore further. They also include some information about the history, flora and fauna, and famous rock formations.
 
The leaflets are printed on high quality, weather resistant paper, so should last in the pocket for a good long time.

They are the result of a joint project between the Conservators, the Friends of the Commons, and Kent High Weald Partnership.






Help for the Parking situation

Those of you who regularly visit Tunbridge Wells Common will know how crowded Fir Tree car park can get, and how little safe parking there is nearby.  You will be pleased to learn that TWBC and Kent Highways have agreed to restrict the parking in most of Castle Road and Mount Edgcumbe Road to four hours only, so commuters can no longer take up all the available parking.  The work is currently planned for April, but it would not be surprising if the terrible weather pushes this back a little.

Please do make full use of the extra spaces (and, perhaps, discover a different part of the Common).

Sadly there is no similar solution available for Rusthall Common.


Common Vision

In conjuction with Kent High Weald Partnerships and the Friends of the Commons we are developing ways to provide more information and guidance for Commons users, both on the ground and online.

To this end, KHWP have devised a short survey to show us what Commons users really want.  Please follow this link and take part in developing the future of your Commons:





Upcoming events 2014

Heritage Open Day Walk 

Saturday 13 September - guided walk on Tunbridge Wells Common.  Meet at 10.30 at Fir Tree Road car park.  Please note that this walk is not suitable for wheelchairs and buggies as much of it takes place off the paths and the terrain can occasionally be difficult.

Hospice in the Weald 10K Run

Sunday 14 September.  The run will start and finish on the Lower Cricket Pitch.  


Rusthall Bonfire

25 October at Common View.


Wildflower update

Sadly the weather conspired against us and snow, followed by torrential rain, meant we had to call off the planned volunteer planting.  Constant freezing rain over the next week or two meant we could not rearrange it.  In the end our valued adviser and supplier of the plants, Mike Mullis, planted the plugs in the bitter cold, ably assisted by our trusty litter picker, Brian.  Brian is on the left in the picture.

The project is being supported by the Tunbridge Wells in Bloom Committee.


We hope to plant more flowers in the autumn, so we will welcome volunteer help then.




Wildflower Planting - Saturday 16 March 2013

We will be planting 1,000 wildflower plugs on the lower portion of Inner London Road (below Church Road) on Saturday 16 March 2013, starting at 10.30.  The planting will be done by volunteers, so we would love to see you there.  Please bring a trowel if possible. 

This is the first step in developing the area into a wildflower meadow.  Last summer the grass was left to grow on all the verges beside London Road and Inner London Road in order to determine their suitability as wildflower meadows.  By the end of the season it had become clear that most of the verges had been disturbed and enriched over the years and were not likely to make good meadows without incurring major costs.  The area below Church Road, though, proved to be mostly undisturbed Lowland Meadow, a
UK priority habitat which is both endangered and particularly important for a number of insect groups. Several experts confirmed the encouraging presence of several species of wildflowers. 

Consequently the Conservators are starting a three year project to reduce the soil fertility even further and plant wildflower plugs and seeds in both spring and autumn each year.  It will take time for the results to show, but each year should show some improvement.

At the same time the Conservators will leave the grass to grow on the opposite side of the road, above the coach park, and if this area also proves to be undisturbed and with low fertility we will develop a wildflower meadow here too. 



Chalara Fraxinea - Ash Dieback

The Warden has seen no evidence so far that the Common has been infected by Ash Dieback, but it would be helpful if all commons users can keep looking for the signs.  If you see anything suspicious, please do let us know. 

The Forestry Commission website has a lot of useful information and a video showing how to identify the disease:

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-8UDM6S


 The following information on identifying ash trees is taken from the Forestry Commission website.


Ash trees

Ash leaves

Leaves

Young ash tree

These are not single leaves but are compound and made up of several “leaflets”.  They are lance shaped with slightly toothed edges. Leaflets are arranged in pairs with an odd one at the end

Bark

The bark is smooth and grey with fissures that appear as it grows older. The colour of the bark is thought to give the tree it’s name.

Buds

Ash flowers.

Distinctive black winter buds produce shoots and dense clusters of small purple flowers.







Wildflower Meadows

Anyone driving or walking down London Road this summer will have noticed that the grass was left to grow much longer than usual on the green area that separates London Road from Inner London Road.  This was part of an experiment to see what wildflowers were growing there, and whether the area is suitable for developing as a wildflower meadow.

The season is over, and the grass has now been cut short.  At least some areas showed promising biodiversity (expecially the stretch between Church Road and the bottom of the hill).

The Conservators now have to decide whether to develop the idea of wildflower meadows and, if so, where.  Your comments will all be taken into consideration, so please get in touch and let us know what you think.


Volunteer Work Parties


Although all the work requiring specialists or equipment is done by contractors, the Conservators rely heavily on the goodwill of volunteers to do much of the clearing through the autumn, winter and spring.

The Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons arrange voluntary work parties on the first Saturday of the month at 10.00. Meet at the Fir Tree Road car park. Everyone is very welcome, however little or much you can do.

Without the help of the volunteer work parties, many of the improvements to the commons cannot be made, as the annual budget is fully spent on maintenance and essential programmes of work..

If you haven't helped before and would like further information, please contact the Warden at the office on 01892 554250, or the Friends through their website http://www.friendsofthecommons.co.uk/.

The dates for the Friends winter work parties are as follows:

5 October 2013
2 November 2013
7 December 2013
4 January 2014
1 February 2014
1 March 2014 



KHWP Family Fun on Tunbridge Wells Common 4th August 2012
 
Kent High Weald Partnership are holding Catch Up on the Common on 4th August, 10 -3.   Join them on Tunbridge Wells Common for some fun family mini beast hunts and arts and crafts. Please take the opportunity to tell us how you use the Common and how we could make it better for you.  If you want to join in the mini beast hunt, please contact KHWP to book a place (www.khwp.org.uk), or just turn up and share your thoughts.  Meeting at Wellington Rocks.

For those of you in Rusthall, a similar day will be held on 29 August.  Further details soon.


Survey of Commons Usage

On our behalf, KHWP are currently studying how the Commons can be put to more educational use, both for schools and for individuals.  As part of this work they have created a survey to help understand how the Commons are used and how information and signage could be imporoved to create a more interesting experience.  It is a very short survey, so please do click on the link and spend a couple of minutes completing it.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FF7SYYW

Or look on the KHWP Common Vision page for more information.


Wild Flower Meadows

Some of the grass areas beside London Road are to be left to develop into wild flower meadows.  We will allow the grass to grow this year to see what flowers we have there, and how people feel about leaving the grass to grow long.  At the end of the season, after the seed has set, we will mow and remove the grass.  We may plant more flowers, depending on what we find.  We will regularly mow paths around the edges and across to reduce trampling and make it look neater.   Follow this link to read more about the experiment.  We are hoping for plenty of feedback, so please do let us know what you think.



Patrick Shovelton
  
It is with great sadness that the Conservators report the death of Patrick Shovelton on Friday 20 January 2012. Patrick was the founder of the Friends of the Commons, and did a great deal to ensure that the Commons was managed in the way it is now
 
  
Volunteer Work Parties
 
The winter volunteer work parties are organised by the Friends of the Commons and take place on the first Saturday morning of every month.  Everyone is welcome and the work is not difficult.  Steve will ensure that you are never asked to do more than you can or want to, and all help, even the tiniest bit, is always gratefully received.  Tools will be provided.  The dates for this winter are:
 
1 October 2011
5 November 2011
3 December 2011
7 January 2012
4 February 2012
3 March 2012
 
If you would like some more information, please contact the office on 01892 554250 or look at the  Friends website .  If you wish to join the Friends, please go to their membership page. 
 
 
New Pages on the website
 
We have opened a new section of the website showing views of the Commons from old postcards.  This section is not yet complete, but already features several areas of Tunbridge Wells Common.  Do take a look: Early photographs and postcards
 
We aim to add pictures of Rusthall Common and other areas of Tunbridge Wells Common shortly.
 
 
New railings and barrier - April 2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anyone who uses the steep footpath near the junction of London Road and Mount Ephraim will know how treacherous it can be, especially in icy weather.  So we were delighted when our new railings and staggered barrier were finally installed recently.  This should make using the footpath a great deal safer, particularly for for those of you with buggies, luggage or small children.
 
 
More on clearance - March 2011
 
For those who have not yet seen the clearance, do take a walk there - it is maturing nicely and has now lost its newly cleared look.  This is how it looked in mid March.
 
 
 
Update on clearance near London Road - November 2010
 
Back in March the Warden's blog reported on the completion of the big clearance between London Road and Castle Road.  Grass seed was sown earlier this year, and this is what the area now looks like:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
Just to remind you, this is what it looked like when the clearance work had just been finished back in March!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Road Works in London Road
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If you have been caught up in the long delays in London Road, just at the junction with Vale Road, you will want to know what is going on.  Kent Highways are making improvements to enable pedestrians coming down the path from the Common to cross the road more safely.  This involves moving the end of the path slightly and scraping off some of the bank to give a clearer view of the oncoming traffic.  They are also installing a refuge in the centre of the road, so things will get worse for drivers before they get better.  These works are annoying, but will improve safety for pedestrians enormously.
 
 
New nets at the Cricket Pavilion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The new (very large!) practice nets looking resplendant at Linden Park Cricket Club.
 
 
Happy Valley
 
A large area of scrub at the end of Happy Valley (furthest from the Beacon) has been cleared over the winter, which has opened up the area and  the views.  When it starts to green up in the spring it will be a major improvement to the area.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Clearance at Mt Edgcumbe rocks
 
As Steve has mentioned in his blog, a good deal of clearance work is going on at the moment, some of it at Mt Edgcumbe rocks.  This is how it looked before work started: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Heavy Snow December 2009
 
We all woke up on 18 December to find Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons showing a seasonal face after heavy snow overnight.  The pictures below give you the flavour, and there are more pictures to be found in the gallery and Wardens Blog.  We are grateful to Christopher Cassidy for allowing us to use his photographs, as most of the pictures of Tunbridge Wells Common in the snow on this website were taken by him.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Progress at Bishops Down Road
 
As you will have read in the Warden's blog, work has started on filling in the end of Bishops Down Road and returning it to Common.  The photographs show the work so far
 
Scraping the earth from the newly cleared area
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Scraping earth from the newly cleared area near London Road
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The earth is moved by dumper truck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The filling in begins
 
 
Rare glow worm on Rusthall Common
 
Ian Beavis, from Tunbridge Wells Museum, has discovered a rare example of a lesser glow worm living on Rusthall Common.  The discovery is of considerable significance, as you will see from the article below, which appeared in the last edition of Local (the free magazine from the Borough Council).
 
 
Rare glow worm found on Rusthall Common

One of Britain’s rarest and most elusive creatures has recently been found living on Rusthall Common. It appeared during a walk led by Ian Beavis from Tunbridge Wells Museum for members of the Kent Field Club, the county’s natural history society. One of the participants spotted a strange insect wandering across a footpath, which Ian recognised as being a male of the lesser glow worm.

The lesser glow worm was first discovered at Lewes in 1868, and since then has been seen on only a few occasions, mostly in East Sussex but also in Surrey and Hampshire. The find at Rusthall is the first record from Kent, and nationally only the third since 1961. With their sandy heathland habitats, Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons are home to many other special plants and animals.

Britain has only two species of glow worm, one of which is fairly widespread, although not so often seen nowadays in a world of artificial light. Common glow worms have been known from Rusthall Common and other sites around Tunbridge Wells for many years. As its name suggests, the lesser glow worm is smaller than its relative, but both share the amazing ability to generate light without surplus heat, a feat which human technology has only recently been able to match. The lesser glow worms shines less brightly than the larger species, showing two tiny greenish white tail lights at the end of its body.

Glow worms are in fact a type of beetle, but the wingless females are hard to recognise as part of that group of insects. Male common glow worms are much more like regular beetles, but they are less often seen. They fly at night, searching for the female’s light. The male lesser glow worm, on the other hand, has very short wings, incapable of flight, and so is closer in appearance to the female. It follows the female’s scent and is active by day, showing up when it crosses bare surfaces like the sandy footpaths on Rusthall Common.

One of Britain’s rarest and most elusive creatures has recently been found living on Rusthall Common. It appeared during a walk led by Ian Beavis from Tunbridge Wells Museum for members of the Kent Field Club, the county’s natural history society. One of the participants spotted a strange insect wandering across a footpath, which Ian recognised as being a male of the lesser glow worm.

The lesser glow worm was first discovered at Lewes in 1868, and since then has been seen on only a few occasions, mostly in East Sussex but also in Surrey and Hampshire. The find at Rusthall is the first record from Kent, and nationally only the third since 1961. With their sandy heathland habitats, Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons are home to many other special plants and animals.

Britain has only two species of glow worm, one of which is fairly widespread, although not so often seen nowadays in a world of artificial light. Common glow worms have been known from Rusthall Common and other sites around Tunbridge Wells for many years. As its name suggests, the lesser glow worm is smaller than its relative, but both share the amazing ability to generate light without surplus heat, a feat which human technology has only recently been able to match. The lesser glow worms shines less brightly than the larger species, showing two tiny greenish white tail lights at the end of its body.

Glow worms are in fact a type of beetle, but the wingless females are hard to recognise as part of that group of insects. Male common glow worms are much more like regular beetles, but they are less often seen. They fly at night, searching for the female’s light. The male lesser glow worm, on the other hand, has very short wings, incapable of flight, and so is closer in appearance to the female. It follows the female’s scent and is active by day, showing up when it crosses bare surfaces like the sandy footpaths on Rusthall Common.
 
 
 
 
Path at Happy Valley
 
The Warden's Update recently mentioned that the final section of path at Happy Valley has just been finished, and it is now possible to walk from St Paul's Church to the rocks without having to pick your way through muddy puddles.  These are three sections of the path - the start, at the church, the middle section, that has been there longest, and the final section at the rocks: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Do take a walk up there and see for yourself.     Take a look, too, at the Gallery where there are   some new pictures of the rocks at Happy Valley.
 
 
 
 
Kwik Cricket
 
A fine sight on a lovely spring day - Kwik Cricket being played on the Higher Cricket Pitch with the Wellington Rocks as a backdrop.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Love Where You Live - Walk on Tunbridge Wells Common
April 8
 
Steve Budden will lead a walk on Tunbridge Wells Common as part of the Love Where You Live Week.  Meet at 12.30 on April 8 at the Millennium Clock in Fiveways.  The walk should take about an hour.
 
Interestingly, this date is also the 100th anniversary of the town being granted the Royal prefix.
 
The walk has been organised by Nick Atkins, the Healthy Lifestyle Coordinator for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, who leads health walks five days a week.  One of these weekly walks take place on the Common, and is free and open to anyone.  Meet at No 1 Community Centre on Showfields Road at 10.00a.m.  The walk is approximately 1.6 miles and should take about an hour.  Further details can be obtained by following this link:    www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/healthwalks  Alternatively, please contact Nick on 01892 554411 or email to nick.atkins@tunbridgewells.gov.uk for futher details.

 
New Paths at Brighton Lake
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Two paths have recently been opened up and widened to link the back of Brighton Lake with the terrace walk (see Warden's blog  30 Jan and 6 Feb).  One is an improvement to the old path, but the other is new and slightly to the side of the old one to produce better drainage.  The steps shown above are at the top of the right hand path as you look from the lake.
 
 
Igloo
 
This appeared on the Common in last week's snow.  More fun that the average snowman.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Snow - 2 February 2009
 
Another view of Mount Edgcumbe Road with the new avenue of cherry trees looking very different from the last posting in December:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You can find more photographs of the snow in the Gallery, and, for some stunning pictures of the Commons in the snow, look at http://anke.blogs.com/
 
Sweeps Cave
 
Another stunning project has been finished recently, funded by the Freehold Tenants.  The clearance of the area around Sweeps Cave and the installation of the new steps has opened up the area, and made a huge difference to the views.  It was completed before the end of December, but the Christmas break meant that the photographs did not appear on the Wardens Blog.  The following shots were taken by Chris Cassidy. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How did it get there? Part 2 January 2009
 
This poor truck driver, misdirected up Castle Road, had no chance getting round the corner.
 
Eventually he was led out by the police who took him the wrong way up the one way street.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Cherry Tree Avenue
 
Last Wednesday the last cherry tree was planted in Mount Edgcumbe Road by the mayor (you can see a photograph of the ceremony in Warden's blog 19.12.08).  You can see the curve of the road, and t the way this is followed by the trees, in the picture below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The trees should flower next spring, but it will take four or five years before we will see the magnificent displays these trees give.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tree Planting in Mount Edgcumbe Road
 
The mayor is coming to Donkey Drive (as Mt Edgcumbe Road has been known for generations) on Wednesday 17 December 2008 at 12.30 to plant the final cherry tree in the splendid new avenue that has been funded by the Freehold Tenants.  Those of you who read the Warden's blog will be aware that the old, decaying trees have been removed recently and the stumps ground out.  Most of the trees had been standing since the coronation of George V1 in 1937, but a few of them were planted by the then owner of the Mt Edgcumbe in memory of the girls who were tragically murdered in 1987, Caroline Pierce, who worked there, and Wendy Knell.  As the mayor plants the tree, we will be remembering the two girls. 
 
 
New Photographs
 
Better late than never, we have finally added some pictures to the Photo Gallery of the lovely autumn colours on the Commons.  Do take a look.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Further damage at Bat Cave
 
Yet again, vandals have tried to break open the bat cave, and we are wondering if they think it could be the entrance to the old tunnels under the Commons.  Every young person in Tunbridge Wells has heard many (mostly mythical) tales about these caves and thinks, quite wrongly, that there is something interesting or mysterious down there. 
 
 
 
 
 
Yet again the wall has been repaired, but if anyone can think of a way to deter the vandals, please do let us know.
 
 
Path at Brighton Lake
 
Click on this link to see photographs of the newly restored path at Brighton Lake.
 
Bank clearance between Mt Ephraim and London Road
 
 
Click on this link for an article that appeared in the Kent and Sussex Courier this week. 
 
And click here for our own before and after pictures.
 
 
 
 
 
 
How did it get there? 12 June 2008
 
On Thursday evening a coach travelling down Church Road from Mount Ephraim managed to
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
mount the kerb and then drive up the steep bank before coming to rest at an alarming angle just before the London Road junction (doing a fair bit of damage to the Common in the process).  Luckily it managed to stay upright, although extracting it without toppling it was a job for the experts.
 
Latest work at Brighton Lake
 
Work has now started on the path, and you can see pictures of the work in progress on the Path at Brighton Lake page.
 
 
Cricket Pavilion finished - April 2008
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Clearances on Commons - Winter 2007/8
 
The Conservators carry out clearance on the Commons for a number of reasons.  This winter
 
quite a lot of clearance has taken place along the A264 to remove dangerous trees and create some graded woodland edges to encourage wildlife.
 
 
There have also been some extensive clearances around Wellington Rocks in an effort to make them less attractive to vandals (fewer places to lurk in the evenings).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exciting New Projects for 2008
 
 
The Freehold Tenants have offered to pay for four different projects to be carried out of Tunbridge Wells Common this year:

Cherry Tree Avenue
Local people will be aware of the avenue of cherry trees in Mount Edgcumbe Road (also known as Donkey Drive or Donkey Walk). Sadly most of these trees are nearing the end of their lives, but t he Freehold Tenants have offered to pay for the removal of the old trees and their replacement with 40 new ones. They will be reasonably large, so should not take too long to establish themselves. They will be planted this autumn.

Bank between St Helena and Gibraltar Cottages
If you look at the bank now all you will see is scrub and bramble, but underneath this, as old postcards show, are some interesting rock outcrops. It is not known how deeply these rocks are now buried, but the Freehold Tenants are going to fund the removal of the scrub and some excavation work to discover whether it is feasible to clear the rocks again.

Brighton Lake
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Postcard which appears to be postmarked 1906
 
The Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons have done a great deal of work at Brighton Lake recently to clear back the edges, and are hoping to fund some dredging and weed clearance this year. As they have cleared the path, it has become apparent that there is very little left of the hard surface, and the Freehold Tenants have offered to restore this path with crushed stone over a geotextile membrane.

Scan Minute Books
The Conservators have the original minutes of every meeting held since they were established in 1890. the first minute book, starting on 24 October 1890, is hand written. In 1921 the minutes were printed and in later years typed, but the original minutes are the only record we have. In order to ensure that these valuable documents are not lost to future generations, and to enable us to make them available for research on this website, the Freehold Tenants are to have all the minutes scanned.



Commons in iLocal Magazine - March 2008


Look out for an article about the Commons in the next issue of iLocal, the magazine produced by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and dropped through your letterbox four times a year. The issue should be coming out in the first week of March, and will feature this picture, or one like it, of Steve Budden with Jade on Wellington Rocks recently.



Pond Clearance
The regular clear out of the ponds has begun with Bracken Cottage Pond. This is how it looked before work started........




....and this is the men clearing it out.....




....and this is how it looks now.



It looks a little muddy at the moment, but this will clear.


Work Parties for this Winter - 6 October 2007

These are some of the volunteers who came to help on 6 October. They worked on the cleared area near the new bat refuge (it was they that cleared it last winter) and below you can see them clearing around the refuge itself.



The dates for the rest of the winter's work parties, organised by the Friends of the Commons (see item at the bottom of this page) are as follows:

5 January
2 February
1 March

They all start at 10.00 a.m. and you should meet in the Fir Tree Road car park. The work will only be light so it will be suitable, whatever your abilities.
Tools will be provided.

If you care about the way the Commons look, please come along and help. You do not need to be a member of the Friends of the Commons, as everyone is very welcome.



Litter Pickers - Sept 2007
This is Gemma who is our new litter picker, sharing the job with her father, John, and their two dogs.

They are permanent, so we are all looking forward to seeing a big improvement in the litter situation on the Commons.

They have only just started though (Sept 3 2007), so they will need a few weeks to learn the ropes.














The Ragwort Story - July 2007
It is that time of year again when we start to recieve calls asking why we are not clearing the Ragwort from the Common, so I thought an explanation of the situation might be useful.



Ragwort is a native species and has been around for many centuries. Like a number of plants, it is poisonous to grazing animals. Because of this, grazing animals very sensibly do not eat it. If they did, they would presumbably have been extinct long ago! The problem comes when the Ragwort is cut and included in fodder or winter food.

In recent years there has been an increase in Ragwort because of the amount of land that has been put into Set-Aside and has not been managed. It is for this reason that there has been a policy of removing Ragwort from farmland and roadside verges in recent years. The press have latched onto this and have published many over the top articles with headlines such as "Peril of the Yellow Killer" but as usual they are only reporting half the story.

Whilst Ragwort is a problem on grazing land, it is a very useful plant for much of our wildlife. It provides a huge nectar source for many insects. Stop and look at a Ragwort plant in full bloom and it is likely to be covered in butterflies, hover flies and bees. It may also have a number of caterpillars on it which will belong to the beautiful, day flying Cinnabar Moth, for which Ragwort is the principal food plant. It is for this reason that DEFRA only ask for clearance of Ragwort from grazed sites or areas that are adjacent to grazed land. The Commons do not fall into either of these catagories. For more information on this subject and many others, the DEFRA website is worth a visit.



Broken glass on Wellington Rocks - June 2007
As the Warden reported in his blog this week (15 June 2007), there are increasing problems with broken glass and litter left on the rocks. Large numbers of young people use Wellington Rocks as their Friday and Saturday evening entertainment venue, and leave behind them a sea of broken glass and empty bottles. The rocks are then used by small children (and dogs) as a playground the next morning.

The Conservators employ litter pickers who clear up certain areas of the Commons (including Wellington Rocks and the Forum area) every morning, but the current levels are beyond anything they can cope with.



Clearly the Conservators need to rethink how to deal with the problem, and talks are now going on with various Borough Council departments who are keenly aware of the problem and working with us to find solutions, both to the behaviour and the clean up.



All Ability Paths - June 2007
The Borough Council has agreed to award the Conservators a grant in order to improve andupgrade the two paths that are currently badly breaking up near Wellington Rocks and the Cricket Ground (see Warden's Blog 1 June 2007).


The picture on the left shows their current dangerous state.

After resurfacing, these paths will be All Ability Paths, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and others with mobility problems. The surface should be durable and will last for many years.

Update
You will see a picture of the newly surfaced path on the Warden's blog 7 September 2007













Bat Refuge/ Hibernaculum - Spring 2007
The Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons have very kindly given the Conservators a donation to enable the conversion of the disused public lavatory behind the Fir Tree Road Car Park (see entries in Wardens blog for 27 April 2007 and 4 May 2007). Instead of being an eyesore and a magnet for flytippers, it will now be a bat refuge and home for reptiles.

The refuge is now complete and is already occupied by both birds and small rodents. Steve will give more details of the species in his blog when he returns from holiday. The picture above shows how it looks now. It should blend in with the surrounding sandstone very quickly.

The work involved closing up up the old doorway and windows with sandstone, leaving small gaps at the top for the bats to enter and exit. There is also a pipe at the very bottom of the doorway (bottom left, although it is not really visible in these photographs) for reptiles. This is Phil on the left, busy turning it into a des res.













Cricket Club
Work is about to begin on a new cricket pavilion to replace the one that was burnt down on Good Friday 2006. The remains were dismantled some time ago and this week (1 May 2007) a series of containers appeared on the Common as the first step towards the construction of the new one. Progress will be documented on a separate page, for those of you unable to watch it happening. Cricket Pavilion pictures. UPDATE - work has finally started (early November), and wed will get some pictures of the work in progress on this site shortly.



Volunteers
Although all the work requiring specialists or equipment is done by contractors, the Conservators rely heavily on the goodwill of volunteers to do much of the clearing through the autumn, winter and spring.

The Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons arrange voluntary work parties on the first Saturday of the month at 10.00. Meet at the Fir Tree Road car park. Everyone is very welcome, however little or much you can do.

The picture on the left shows the newly cleared area behind the Fir Tree Road car park which was recently completed by the volunteers. Heather is being reintroduced to this area, which will gradually return to heathland.

Without the help of the volunteer work parties, many of the improvements to the commons cannot be made, as the annual budget is fully spent on maintenance and essential programmes of work..

If you haven't helped before and would like further information, please contact the Warden at the office on 01892 554250.





 



Page last updated: 12/07/2017