The commons

Wandsworth Common

Facilities and features

Wandsworth Common has many features similar to Tooting Common, including strong involvement from local users. Its 73 hectares (175 acres) contain ecological and ornamental areas, sports pitches, tennis and bowling, a lake (fishing in season, membership required), trim trail and children's playground.

Accessibility

Visit the DisabledGo website for details.

Backgroud

The manor of Battersea and Wandsworth, which included Wandsworth Common, dates back to the 11th century. On the common people had rights which included the cutting of wood and shrubs, the grazing of animals and the digging of gravel. As London expanded, pressure to develop the common increased and large areas passed into private hands and others were dissected by road and rail links. To protect the common from further development it was purchased by a body of conservators in 1871. However this did little to help and when management was passed over to the metropolitan board of works in 1887 it was bare, muddy and almost without trees.

In 1971 management was passed to us. Wandsworth Common today includes many trees, two lakes, woodlands and grasslands along with sports and play facilities. The common is home to a wide variety of urban wildlife including foxes, squirrels and numerous bird and invertebrate species.

Part of the common known as the scope is managed specifically for wildlife. Its name is derived from an enormous telescope (once the largest in the world) which was constructed in 1852 by the Rev. John Craig. The expansion of London resulted in poorer air quality making the telescope useless - it was removed in the 1870s. The scope contains young oak and silver birch woodland, different types of grassland and scrub habitats.

Find out more about Wandsworth Common's history and description
(from London Gardens Online)

A site of importance for nature conservation

(WaBI01 - Greater London Authority/London Borough of Wandsworth November 2002) 

Wandsworth Common is classed as a site of borough importance grade 1. 

The habitat is acid and neutral grassland, secondary woodland, and lakes. 

A rather fragmented common, dissected into 10 sections by roads and railways, it is nevertheless a popular and well used open space.

Habitats are a mosaic of secondary oak and birch woodland, acid and neutral grassland and scattered gorse scrub.  The acid grassland contains typical species such as tormentil (Potentilla erecta) and purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea). Three lakes support common waterfowl and a range of fish, and are popular with anglers. These have recently been restored and marginal vegetation introduced.

An environmental education centre is well used by local schools. Since the 1992 schedule, a small area of scrub, part of the grounds of the former John Archer School (formerly WaBII08, the rest of which has been redeveloped) has been added to the site. 

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