Tooting Common Heritage Project Newsletter: August 2018

Welcome to the Tooting Common Heritage Project (TCHP) newsletter. Below you can read about what has been going on over the last couple of months and what is to come! It has been a remarkably hot summer with people and wildlife alike doing their best to keep cool. Nevertheless, the acid grassland landscape of the Common is progressing well. Our newly planted lime trees are also showing no signs of stress, but are now being watered on a weekly basis.

Image: Acid grassland on Tooting Common

On behalf of Wandsworth Council, Enable Leisure and Culture (as well as all the various other partners) and the TCHP team, we would like to thank you for your continuous support.



The construction of the Western Terrace has been completed and the sunbathing ledges have already proven popular amongst the users of Tooting Bec Lido. The construction of a new cycle park behind the women’s changing block has also been completed and now provides 22 additional cycle stands. No more works will be carried out until the closure of the Lido to the public in September so as to not disturb the users. However, come autumn the refurbishment of the changing cubicles will commence and the original entrance arches are scheduled to be rebuilt.

Image: Tooting Bec Lido Western Terrace



The restoration works to Tooting Common’s famous fossil tree and its enclosure is near completion. A new iron fence surrounds the tree to mark it as a focal point, while an unlocked metal gate allows people access to a newly constructed viewing platform. The Tooting History Group is currently undertaking research into the history of the fossil tree for the planned interpretation panel which will explain its history and relevance to the area.

Image: Fossil tree with new iron fence



Image: Hobby over Tooting Common. Credit: Alan Wilkinson

Nature on Tooting Common in the early summer was dominated by the prolonged heatwave. Birdlife was generally hard to see, busy with breeding, but the occasional bird of prey was seen drifting over including Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Hobby.

Image: Marbled White. Credit: Alan Wilkinson

The warm weather was good for many butterflies including Common Blue, Ringlet and Purple Hairstreak. Marbled White was seen in the grasslands several times, a species rarely seen on the Common perhaps becoming established.

Image: White-letter Hairstreak, female, in Elm on Tooting Common. Credit: Alan Wilkinson

A survey of the White-letter Hairstreak with Butterfly Conservation Surrey pinpointed at least twenty colonies in elms suggesting the Common is a regionally important hotspot for this nationally scarce species. Alan Wilkinson



TCHP runs historical and ecological walks and talks, engages with local schools and hosts an exciting range of community events on Tooting Common. Keep up to date by visiting:



Minibeast hunts

Wednesday 22 August, 12pm to 2pm Wednesday 29 August, 12pm to 2pm Booking required

Come and explore the creepy crawlies that lie in the undergrowth at Tooting Common! Children will have the opportunity to hunt, catch and identify some of the minibeasts that lurk amongst the woodlands and meadows.

Acid grassland restoration walk Thursday 23 August, 2pm to 4pm Meeting at Tooting Common Bec Café No booking required Come and learn about the nationally scarce and ecologically important acid grassland habitat on Tooting Common. The walk will be led by Valerie Selby, Parks Development & Biodiversity Manager at Enable Park.

Tooting Common Bec Café Anniversary Celebrations Monday 27 August, 3pm Meeting at Tooting Common Bec Café No booking required To mark the 120th anniversary, an event will take place at the café on Monday 27 August at 3pm and will last for about an hour. It will include the unveiling of a plaque on the history of the café and the cutting and distribution of a birthday cake made by the café. All are welcome! The event is being run in partnership with the Tooting History Group and the Friends of Tooting Common.

MORE EVENTS TO COME... There are more events planned to take place over the summer on Tooting Common. Please keep an eye on our website for further details.


PREVIOUS EVENTS Wandsworth Heritage Festival - Scything Taster Session On a glorious day in early June, participants attended a taster session in the ancient art of scything, a traditional grassland management technique used for centuries in England. Attendees scythed and raked the meadows near the wildlife ponds. This method of grassland management is a more sensitive way to cut the grass than using machinery and allows for varying sward lengths, creating more varied habitats which benefits a greater diversity of wildlife.


Wandsworth Heritage Festival - Tooting Common Maps The Tooting Common Maps Exhibition provided the opportunity for people to see a variety of maps and drawings relating to the parks and open spaces in Wandsworth. The collection included printed, hand-drawn and hand-finished maps and documents dating back to the interwar period up until the 1990s when the last municipal landscape designers left the council.


VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES The Tooting Common Heritage Project is looking for volunteers! There are many opportunities to get involved with, either on a short-term basis or by regularly committing time to a specific project or group. Volunteering is a rewarding experience it provides the opportunity to learn about your local environment, enhance your skills, improve your health and well-being and meet new people. Visit the website for more information about volunteering opportunities, or email the TCHP Team.