River transport as right of common along the Avon and Severn.

At the end of the dead-end Gabb Lane near Apperley, Gloucestershire, between The Coalhouse Inn and the Severnside Caravan Site and Boat Park, is a patch of cropped grass with room for six or seven cars. The Severn Way walking route runs past it, though you have to peer through a thicket of willow toContinue reading “River transport as right of common along the Avon and Severn.”

Cleeve Common: bryophytes amongst the golf tees

Cleeve Common is both the highest point on the Cotswolds and its largest expanse of both open and common land. It’s a SSSI due to its rare grasslands and for the quarrying which has revealed the greatest stretch of the Cotswold limestones’ geological record. Quarries are surprisingly often, it turns out, SSSIs for exactly thisContinue reading “Cleeve Common: bryophytes amongst the golf tees”

Tewkesbury’s commons: two meadows, four rivers and a weir.

In the present day, Tewkesbury is famous for just one thing. In July 2007, two months of rain fell on Gloucestershire in just 14 hours, causing widespread catastrophic flooding. Tewkesbury, where the Avon meets the Severn, was particularly badly hit, effectively becoming an island and resulting in the loss of three lives. This was perhapsContinue reading “Tewkesbury’s commons: two meadows, four rivers and a weir.”

Corse Lawn Common: dead deer and potholes on the Gloucestershire/ Worcestershire border

To see the thick, gently-waving grass of the long, long and narrow Corse Lawn Common, Worcestershire, you’d assume a gently pastoral connection with its name. You’d be wrong about the pastoral, just as you would with the gentle.  Corse, in this case, is possibly of Welsh origin and means marsh or bog, while Lawn meansContinue reading “Corse Lawn Common: dead deer and potholes on the Gloucestershire/ Worcestershire border”

Bluebells in Grovely Wood, dammit.

I first visited Grovely Woods in late November 2021, as the last of autumn was just about clinging on, but really fell under its spell over a series of visits in December and January, savouring the sinister bleakness of deep winter woodland. Mid to late winter is a personally very difficult time for me; appreciatingContinue reading “Bluebells in Grovely Wood, dammit.”

Pheasants and phantoms in eastern Grovely.

I’d not been to the eastern end of Grovely Wood since my very first visit, back in November; I’d barely explored it when I did. On the map, as the wood falls steeply away southward from the Roman road to the Nadder valley, it appears as blocks of plantation, so I wasn’t expecting much. ButContinue reading “Pheasants and phantoms in eastern Grovely.”

Great Ridge Wood, Wilts: Grovely Wood’s divergent sibling.

Great Ridge Wood in Wiltshire, also known as Chicklade Wood, is a substantial area of mixed woodland on the same ridge as Grovely Wood, bordered by the Wylie Valley to the north and split by the busy A303; it was once a highway robbery hotspot. The same Roman road runs the length of each, andContinue reading “Great Ridge Wood, Wilts: Grovely Wood’s divergent sibling.”

Ford Heath & Tolpuddle Green

Ford Heath and South Heath are a single, large parcel of land not far from Wareham and owned by a vast international water and waste management corporation, the Suez Group, with headquarters in Paris. That fact alone should set the tone already, for although this patch of common land, one of the largest in Dorset,Continue reading “Ford Heath & Tolpuddle Green”

Several commons in Hardy Country

The forecast for last Friday was glorious so I headed down to Dorset to binge on commons. Heading down to Dorset is likely something I’ll be doing rather more of as the focus of my PhD narrowing down to an area known rather problematically as Hardy Country. For the sake of my sanity, I’m limitingContinue reading “Several commons in Hardy Country”