Management Plans

We now have brand new Ecological Management Plans for the Commons!

The Conservators’ goal is to manage the Commons for the benefit of local people whilst creating and maintaining a wide variety of habitats to sustain and encourage wildlife of all types, both common and rare.

Since 1991 we have been following the recommendations of a series of long-term Management Plans produced in 1991, 2005 and 2016/7.

In late 2022, we enlisted the help of Kate Ryland, a fantastic consultant ecologist to help produce new Ecological Management Plans for Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons. The overall objectives of management for biodiversity on the Commons is:

  • To promote and maintain a biodiverse habitat mosaic of structurally complex vegetation.
  • To meet the resource and habitat requirements of rare, protected and declining species of fauna and flora on the Commons.

The main purpose of the new five-year Ecological Management Plans are to set out the broad actions needed to meet these objectives. The management recommendations include essential regular and annual tasks as well as larger projects that may extend over a period of years.

Kate started by researching and investigating all of the existing literature, records and information about the Commons. She then made vital recommendations for prioritising ecological survey work to better understand our habitats and the species that call the Commons their home. The final part of the puzzle involved collating all of this information and making recommendations that cover the management of grassland, heathland, invasive non-native species, woodland, special trees, ash dieback, road verges and the path network, ponds, ditches and streams and sandrocks.

The Plans are fascinating documents to read and provide complete clarity on the direction that our work should take, but don’t take our word for it, please do read for yourselves:

Tunbridge Wells Common Ecological Management Plan 2024-28

Rusthall Common Ecological Management Plan 2024-28


The Plans don’t include public amenity (access and leisure activities), which is now our focus for 2024/5, in the meantime we will be continuing the recommendations from the 2016/7 plan as follows:

  • Maintain a register of the highest priority improvements for implementation as funding becomes available (including planning gain funding). Review and update priorities annually.
  • All work on the Commons should be consistent with the habitat and biodiversity principles in the Management Plan.
  • Longer-term maintenance (and risk) implications should be assessed and quantified for each project. Standard specifications should be applied to minimise future maintenance costs.

Supporting Documents