FOSSIL TREE RESTORATION

Restoration of the fossil tree enclosure

The fossil tree on the north-eastern side of the central lake has been a Tooting Common landmark for over a century. It was placed on the Common in 1898 and is a legacy of the Victorian practise of placing geological curiosities on display as public attractions in urban parks. 

The fossil tree has an important place within the tapestry of natural and built heritage features on Tooting Common, which each reflects different periods of taste. It enriches the historic landscape of the Common and has a story that deserves to be celebrated.

Description of works:

The fossil tree’s derelict enclosure was restored in 2018 as part of the Tooting Common Heritage Project with the aim of enhancing the value of the fossilised tree trunk as a local heritage asset. The nearby litter bins were relocated and all vegetation in and around the enclosure was removed. The old railings were then removed, and the ground was regraded to create a level platform with step access.

A newly fabricated fence was subsequently installed which completely encircles the fossil with a gate that remains unlocked to allow direct access. In keeping with the pre-historic nature of the heritage asset, ferns were planted around the perimeter of the enclosure. Finally, an interpretation panel, giving more detailed scientific and historical information, was affixed to the new railings. The research for this panel was undertaken by the Tooting History Group.