Not Quite The South Of France…
Southborough Common, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Southborough has a long history of occupation, with iron being worked in the area since prehistoric times although it was once much more densely forested than it is now although the common still holds large expanses of Wood Pasture which would have been introduced with the Norman Conquest and Acid Grassland which is locally known as the South of France.
As a common, local people who own houses may have commoners rights, this gives the people the ability to collect Estovers (firewood), Pannage (Right to turn out pigs for a period in autumn to eat mast), Marl (take sand or gravel), Turbary (take sods of earth for fuel), Piscary (right to fish) and Pasture (graze animals) although very few people still excise these rights nowadays.
The acid grassland is currently under threat from Bracken Pteridium aqulinum (1) which is shading out some of the more specialist plants, although one species which rely on bracken could also be found, the Brown Silver-Line Moth Petrophora chlorosata (2) caterpillars feed on the leaves. Although in clear areas Heath Bedstraw Galium saxatile (8) a low growing plant, with tiny white flowers which look like fallen snow was in full flower along with Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis (3).
In one patch a small area of Heath Calluna vulgaris (4) has re-established itself and was home to a good number of Meadow Grasshoppers Chorthippus parallelus (5) which were probably the pray for the large number of Common Lizards Zootoca vivipara (6)(7) which could also be found basking in the sun.