aChislehurst Common and St. Paulís Cray Common


Chislehurst Common TQ 441703 - XX ha
St. Paulís Cray Common - XX ha TQ 450963
Tel: 020 8467 1886 - Bromley

In 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.

Getting there

Train: Chislehurst.
Bus: 61, 160, 161, 162, 269, 273.
M25: J3
Car park: Lay-by in St Paul’s Cray Road.
Foot: Access from Manor Park, across the Comons and via the adjacent National Trust estate. Part of the SE London Green Chain Walk.


Wildweb | Site Link | Local Map

St Paul’s Cray Common