A Journey Through the Ancient Commons of the Bristol Ring Road

My latest post is being hosted by the excellent Unofficial Britain site. Many thanks to Gareth Rees for taking it on. http://www.unofficialbritain.com/a-journey-through-the-ancient-commons-of-the-bristol-ring-road/

Kent Commons in a time of plague

I’ve known Sevenoaks my whole life. It was the nearest town to my first home in the village of Otford, and one of my earliest memories is of meeting my Nana there, when she was still spry enough to catch a bus to nearby Riverhead. Actually, I don’t specifically remember anything about our meeting, thoughContinue reading “Kent Commons in a time of plague”

Commons in North West Hampshire: on process, personhood and Pill Heath.

*This blog is more personal than most, for reasons which will become clear, and I discuss some of the processes and motives behind this project. I will, however, get around to talking about the five Hampshire commons I visited in late October. If you’re not that bothered about me going on about myself, that’s quiteContinue reading “Commons in North West Hampshire: on process, personhood and Pill Heath.”

Heritage as radical space – Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons.

In the middle of 2022’s dry, bright, and occasionally alarmingly hot spring and summer, I chose a week of glum skies and drizzle for my field trip to visit Gloucestershire’s astonishing commons. My visit to the celebrated Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons was on the glummest day of all – and yet the place crackled withContinue reading “Heritage as radical space – Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons.”

Slipping through the membrane at Epping Forest

Epping Forest is one of the most famous the UK’s commons and a great deal of ink has been spilled about it. It slices through East London from Zones 3 to 6 between the Central line and the Lea Valley, stretching around fourteen miles from Wanstead Flats in the densely populated area around Forest GateContinue reading “Slipping through the membrane at Epping Forest”

Grovely Wood: the Motion Picture

So what of Grovely Wood, that extraordinary finding, so rich in mood, myth and history, which was to be the centrepiece of my PhD? In July, just as temperatures were starting to hot up to the terrifying heights of the 19th, I went on a visit with Adrian Stewart, Grovely’s ranger. And, sorry, but noContinue reading “Grovely Wood: the Motion Picture”

Newcastle Town Moor: an exemplary c.21st common.

Newcastle’s Town Moor is the UK’s largest urban green space; at 985 acres, it’s 142 acres larger than New York’s Central Park. It’s also a mosaic of land uses – much continues to be given over to grazing, but there are also allotments, playing fields and a golf course; also on the common are anContinue reading “Newcastle Town Moor: an exemplary c.21st common.”

The Malverns – trailblazing conservation since 1885

At up to a billion years old, the igneous intrusion known as The Malverns is the oldest rock in England and Wales. The Malverns emerge, almost apologetically majestic, among gentle hills and the Severn plain farmland which surround them and more than worthy of their Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status. I’ve itched to climbContinue reading “The Malverns – trailblazing conservation since 1885”

Castlemorton Common – ‘avin it large in Worcestershire

Castlemorton, Shadybank, Hollybed and Combe Green Commons are a single unit of registered common land, to the south of Great Malvern, Worcestershire, covering 681 acres. It’s still used by commoners, who have rights to graze livestock – mainly cattle and sheep – as well as (in smaller numbers) to fish, set pigs out to forage,Continue reading “Castlemorton Common – ‘avin it large in Worcestershire”

Cheese-rolling, Orwell and Orchids – beechwood and grassland commons in the southern Cotswolds

The Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods National Nature Reserve (NNR) is, as one might expect, a network of beechwoods and commons which extends over 1644 acres of ridges and scarps around the Painswick Valley, Gloucestershire. West of Gloucester and south of Cheltenham, it’s an important asset for a substantial urban population and is today managed byContinue reading “Cheese-rolling, Orwell and Orchids – beechwood and grassland commons in the southern Cotswolds”