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Tooting Common Heritage Project Newsletter: December 2018

Welcome to the December issue of 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!

Since the last issue autumn has come and gone and now, with the trees shedding their leaves, the common is preparing itself for the winter months. We would like to thank everyone who attended the Tooting Bec Common café anniversary celebration in August. We were so please with the turnout and it was wonderful to see the café receive some well-deserved attention. The café is now awaiting its 120th winter! After seeing so many winters, we will have to wait and see what this one has in store...

Image: Tooting Bec Common Café birthday celebrations

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.


REFURBISHMENT OF THE WOODFIELD PAVILION Work on the refurbishment of the Woodfield pavilion began in September and is scheduled to be completed by June 2019. The plan is to provide a central multi-use space on the ground floor that will hold up to 50 people in seated gatherings, and to provide storage for regular users and equipment for displays, talks, film shows and so on. The entrances will be rearranged to provide step-free access to the central space, a changing room, and a kitchen and toilets, including a disabled toilet. The changing room will be large enough to provide some locker space and for briefings of small (sometimes muddy) groups using the Woodfield ground and its surroundings. The kitchen will provide for those who use the pavilion and perhaps a part-time café service for passers-by. Upstairs there will be a space under the roofing to be used for administrative and storage purposes. Once refurbished, the building will be kept open for members of the public as much as possible during daylight hours. To this end the project will appoint a fulltime manager and is currently actively recruiting volunteers and members for the management team. If you are interested in volunteering opportunities or joining the charity as a member please get in touch with The Woodfield Project by emailing

Our vision is to create a community hub for education, recreation, leisure and sports activities which focus on health and wellbeing and foster an appreciation of the natural environment.

Image: Woodfield pavilion refurbishment works



Works are currently underway to repair a water pipe in Tooting Bec Common, south of Bedford Hill Road (B242). Thames Water, Network Rail, Wandsworth Council and Enable Leisure and Culture along with Tooting Common Management Advisory Committee are working closely together to ensure that the section of work required beneath the railway line is carried out safely and with the least disruption possible. 160-metre section of water pipe is being replaced across the common and under the railway line and to make sure that local water supplies are maintained whilst the work takes place, along with a temporary booster station off Elmbourne Road. The emergency works have meant that a section of the acid grassland restored by Tooting Common Heritage Project has been affected, but when the works are finished the acid grassland will be replaced back to its improved condition. Two compounds have been set up, for preparation and the repair work. Normal working hours will be 8am to 5.30pm (Monday to Friday) and 8am to 1pm (Saturday). However, a period of 24-hour working will be required when tunnelling beneath the railway line. During this time, extra precautions will be taken to keep any noise to a minimum. If you have any further questions, please contact Thames Water on



Image: Common Blue butterfly on Tooting Common this autumn. Credit: Alan Wilkinson

During the autumn butterflies and other insects became less prominent on Tooting Common. We finally had some Small Copper butterflies appearing in the acid grassland area in September, Common Blues persisted well into October and a few Red Admirals were seen migrating south over the Common ultimately heading for the continent.

Image: Fieldfare migrating over Tooting Common on its way from Scandinavia to somewhere warmer for the winter! Credit: Alan Wilkinson

The fine autumn weather on Tooting Common was particularly good for observing bird migration. An average of 44 different bird species per month have been seen on the Common during 2018, but in October 55 species were seen. Most of the extras were seen migrating over the Common during fine weather, including Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Redwing, Fieldfare, Reed Bunting, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll, often revealing themselves with their distinctive calls.

Image: Yellow-browed warbler on Tooting Common. Credit: Alan Wilkinson

The rarest autumn visitor was a yellow-browed warbler. This species breeds in eastern Russia or Mongolia and should have been migrating to South Asia, but some drift west each year passing through the UK. The bird, seen on the 18 October, was the first recorded on Tooting Common. Quite a few local birdwatchers managed to see it as it flitted around the edge of the lake calling. 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:



Please keep an eye on our website for events coming up on Tooting Common in the new year.



Tooting Bec Common Café 120th Anniversary Celebrations

On August Bank Holiday Monday the café on Tooting Bec Common celebrated its 120th birthday with a party for the local community. The event was organised in partnership with the Tooting History Group and the Friends of Tooting Common and was attended by more than 200 people, including the worshipful the Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Piers McCausland, who unveiled a new history panel for the café and cut a magnificent cake made by café owners, San Remo Ltd.

Image: Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Piers McCausland, cutting the Tooting Bec Common Café birthday cake

Leaves in Fall During the October half term, children and their families took part in the free 'Leaves in Fall' event on Tooting Common. Fallen leaves of different shapes, sizes and colours from around the common were collected and identified and turned into brilliant kites and colourful animal collages. The kites were then taken out onto the common and given a test run, with, we are pleased to report, all kites making it safely off the ground!



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.



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