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”

The River Plym

The stretch of the River Plym from Marsh Mills Bridge to Plym Bridge is a registered common. Not the banks, but the river itself, and there’s just the one lucky holder of rights to fish there who probably doesn’t even know their right to do so is protected in law. It’s not the only localContinue reading “The River Plym”

Grovely Wood, Wiltshire.

How do you come across a place? Sometimes it emerges from out of the routine of life – a journey by car, a move for work, somewhere to walk the dog. Other times the encounter springs from relationships – being introduced to a patch of downland by family, a riverside picnic with friends. Then thereContinue reading “Grovely Wood, Wiltshire.”

Three commons near to Bovey Tracey, Devon.

I’ve only been to a handful of the common land which DWT manage, something I’m slowly putting right. Having long since planned a trip with a friend to their Chudleigh Knighton Heath reserve near Bovey Tracey, it made sense to also include a trip to nearby Ideford Common while out that way. To make it aContinue reading “Three commons near to Bovey Tracey, Devon.”

Portland Commons

The first time I visited the Isle of Portland was to help my brother-in-law move there and knew right away I’d be back. I’d already seen it countless times, as it’s visible right down the Devon coast, including from the Pebblebed Heaths. When the visibility is reasonable and the sun shines on it, there itContinue reading “Portland Commons”

Cross Moor Drove & Middle Rhyne, Somerset.

When I headed up the M5 to Crook Peak, I was also chasing another, very different, kind of commons experience. I spend a fair amount of time online exploring the nation’s commons by zooming in and out of DEFRA’s map of common land, and I noticed that just south of Crook Peak, starting at theContinue reading “Cross Moor Drove & Middle Rhyne, Somerset.”

Crook Peak/ Compton Hill, nr. Axminster, Somerset.

Anyone who’s driven up the M5 south of Bristol, between Junctions 21 and 22, will have noticed a peak soaring up just north of Bridgwater and from which the Mendips ripples eastwards. Modestly clothed in gorse and heather, through which poke patches of calcareous limestone, it seems to promise glorious walking; I’ve meant to headContinue reading “Crook Peak/ Compton Hill, nr. Axminster, Somerset.”

Several commons around Wareham, Dorset.

To mark another beautiful September day, I drove down to West Dorset to have a look at some commons that had intrigued me when I came across them on mapping sites. St. Mary’s Churchyard is a tiny common in the middle of a meadow south of the River Froome. The original church likely dates toContinue reading “Several commons around Wareham, Dorset.”

Greenham & Crookham Commons

It’s extraordinary I’ve never been to Greenham Common before. It’s slightly more than a ten minute drive from where my aunt lived, and given its fame, its recent return to its original heathland habitats, and the utterly glorious beech woods on its lower slopes, it would seem a logical destination amongst the hill forts, riverContinue reading “Greenham & Crookham Commons”