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Since the great storm of 1987, the Conservators have taken a more active approach towards the management of the Commons.  Until this year (2017), we have been following a management plan produced for the Commons by Kent Wildlife Trust.  This plan balanced biodiversity and conservation with the needs of the many Commons users.

This year a new management plan has been adopted by the Conservators which is similar to the previous one although the emphasis has changed slightly.

The Management Plan 2017 can be read here, and the previous one, the 2005 Management Plan, can be read here. 

Current Work

This is an extract from the Wardens report for December 2017:

As ever at this time of year, work has been concentrated on the cutting back and clearing of our path network, as well as the cutting and clearing of the glades and meadow areas. At the time of writing this report, only Bulls Hollow remained to be cleared from the main cut. Happy Valley will be cleared separately in the run up to Christmas. The last cut of the amenity grass was carried out at the beginning of November, hopefully leaving it reasonably short for the start of the new contract next April.

This year, in accordance with the recommendations of our new Management Plan, we have left parts of our glades uncut to create a greater variety of age ranges and habitats within the sward.

Fir Tree Pond has recently been de-silted and weed removed over about half its area. Having first been allowed to drain back into the pond, the weed and silt was used to construct a refuge in a sunny corner of the site. Logwood and brush were incorporated into the mound to create chambers and spaces within the refuge, as well as providing food and shelter for invertebrates that will in turn provide a food source for the amphibians. 


The Coming Season

This important breeding pond has always attracted early attention because of its sheltered and sunny position which allows water temperature to rise swiftly in the spring. In recent years, however, the holly scrub to the south of the pond has grown high enough to start to shade it. I therefore plan to cut the holly in question down to around six feet in height, which will not only allow light back onto the pond but also should cause the holly to sprout from the base, acting as a much improved barrier against road noise.

Many of the ditches are in need of re-digging now. We excavated the Racecourse ditch between Major Yorks Road and Hungershall Park last year and we plan to re-dig the section from Major Yorks Road to the end of Royal Victoria Grove this winter.

Please follow this link to read the full text of all the recent Warden's Reports.
Although all the work requiring specialists or equipment is done by professionals, the Conservators rely heavily on the goodwill of volunteers to do much of the clearing through the autumn, winter and spring.  These voluntary work parties are organised by the Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons, and meet on the first Saturday of the month from October to March at 10.00, usually at the Fir Tree Road car park.   Everyone is very welcome, however little or much you can do.   If you do plan to join, please let us know so that we can confirm where we are meeting.

These are the dates for this winter:

14 October 2017
4 November 2017
2December 2017
6 January 2018
3 February 2018
3 March 2018

If you haven't helped before and would like further information, please contact the Warden at the office on 01892 554250 or by email at info@twcommons.org.  Alternatively, pay a visit to the Friends website.  You can join the Friends using their membership page.


Page last updated: 19/12/2017