Common TQ 441703 - XX ha
St. Paulís Cray Common - XX ha TQ 450963
Tel: 020 8467 1886 - Bromley
addition to extensive areas of acid grassland and woodland, Chislehurst
Common includes several areas with heather – including the fringes
of the village cricket pitch. The neighbouring St. Paul’s Cray
Common straddles the road between Chislehurst and Orpington. Until 1870,
when a prolonged fire destroyed the gorse and heather it was largely
heathland.. Birch and oak gradually colonized giving rise to the largely
wooded Common with which people are familiar today.
The Conservators who now manage the Commons have been working to link
the isolated pockets of heath that remained since 1993, reclaiming areas
from woodland that had been devastated by the Great Storm of 1987.
Little by little, ‘fields’ have been cut, stripped of peat
and sown by strewing the seed-laden heather shoots clipped from heather
plants in the existing heathland patches. A mixture of heather and bell
heather have been spread. Fine-leaved fescues, sheeps sorrel and cat’s
ear have colonized naturally. By the end of 2008 there will be a continuous
heathland expanse of about 3.5 ha.
The HeadKeeper and Volunteers cut areas of older heather to retain a
varied age structure, and control the spread of invasive scrub species.
On a sunny summer’s day, you can observe many species of bees
and butterflies feeding on the nectar of the purple heather. Other smaller
insects abound and dragonflies hawk after these by day, bats by night.
Common lizards are occasionally seen basking on banks or scuttling away
into the grass.
Well-trodden and less frequented paths provide access across both sites.
Bus: 61, 160, 161, 162, 269, 273.
Car park: Lay-by in St Paul’s Cray
Foot: Access from Manor Park, across the
Comons and via the adjacent National Trust estate. Part of the SE London
Green Chain Walk.