Nettlebed and District Commons

The Friends of Nettlebed and District Commons

Nettlebed Common - Lower Common Wood
Oxlands Bottom - Highmoor Common Wood

Witheridge Hill - Peppard Common - Kingwood Common

Nettlebed and District Commons is the collective name for 227 hectares (560 acre) of Common Land in South Oxfordshire administered by Conservators appointed under the “Nettlebed and District Commons (Preservation) Act 1906.” The Commons cover an wide and varied habitat including beautiful beech, birch, cherry, pine and oak woods, heathland, grassland, clay pits, an ancient earthwork, an old well, a SSSI and miles of tracks and paths as well as numerous ponds at Nettlebed.

Since 1906, the Nettlebed and District Commons have been defined and protected by an Act of Parliament which established the Commons Conservators. The nine Conservators, who are appointed on a voluntary basis, have the responsibility of managing the commons, which includes preventing encroachment, and organising grass cutting, pond clearance, tree surgery and litter collection on the 8 commons totalling 560 acres across three parishes.

Heathland is a feature on some of our commons. It is a rare and threatened habitat in Britain and especially in Oxfordshire. Much has been lost to housing and other development, forestry and through the abandonment of grazing.. Management work is needed in order to keep the open heaths from becoming scrub and woodland which shade out the characteristic heather.

September 2011 saw the launch of the four year Chilterns AONB Commons Project which included a pond re-generation programme on Nettlebed Common. This has given opportunities to engage with the community. The project has also offered training for volunteers in a range of skills.

In the winter of 2015/2016 grant funding from TOE2 and others enabled a regeneration project to restore the acid wetlands on old claypits at Nettlebed. This was planned and carried out by Rod d’Ayala who has also been appointed as consultant to advise on volunteers work on all our commons having been closely associated with them for over thirty years. As an experienced contractor and wildlife specialist he is also on call to carry out emergency clearance work and to plan work schedules for our volunteer work groups.

For some years valuable assistance has been provided by the Sonning Common Green Gym volunteers and since 2012 volunteer groups have been formed at Kingwood and Peppard (KPCV) who meet monthly and at Nettlebed, known as Team Nettlebed who meet weekly during the winter months.

“The Friends of Nettlebed and District Commons” is for all to join and has the objective of involving as many local residents as possible with the Common Land.

“Friends” are asked to give a minimum annual donation to help with on-going maintenance work of £20 due on the 1st April, and to help where possible by:

The Commons Conservators receive some money in the form of donations from parish councils and a percentage of expenses from SODC, but these do not cover all the costs.

Much of the work on the commons is now done by our two active volunteer groups – Kingwood and Peppard Commons Volunteers (KPCV) and Team Nettlebed. Both these groups meet regularly and new volunteers are most welcome. Sonning Common Green Gym also carry out regular work on our commons.

The Conservators would be delighted if you would give us your support by becoming a “FRIEND OF THE COMMONS”.  On joining, we will send you a specially produced 21 page booklet describing the Commons and their history together with our recently commissioned commons map.  We will send you regular newsletters and invite you to attend the annual “friends” meetings and maybe help with work parties.  Please help us look after this wonderful legacy by filling in and returning the reply form.

Please help us look after this wonderful legacy by filling in and returning the

Joining Form

Friends Joining form