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”

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.”