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”

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”

Little Solsbury Hill & Solsbury Common, Somerset.

On a glorious, summer-hot September day, I headed up the M5 to just north of Bath to climb up on one of rock’s most famous hills. Little Solsbury Hill is an Iron Age hillfort owned by the National Trust and a registered common with rights to graze sheep, cattle and horse, and surrounded by aContinue reading “Little Solsbury Hill & Solsbury Common, Somerset.”