Background
 
Keston Common incorporating Ravensbourne Open Space and Padmall Wood is as near to a natural landscape as is possible to find anywhere in South East England.  It is registered as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as having Ancient Scheduled Monument (SAM) status.  More recently the area has been designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and plans for World Heritage status are being progressed.
 
Our site has an enormous variation of habitats: heathland, woodland (mature and coppiced), bogland, three ponds (a fourth now silted up) and from Caesar's Well, is the source of the London River Ravensbourne.  Each require a different approach to maintenance and conservation.  To this end we are pleased to have available to us the expertise and training of our Bromley Council Ranger and visiting experts to learn new insight to these wonderful worlds.
 
The site has served the community since ancient times.  It has iron age earthworks and old mills and is adjacent to Holwood House, the site of a former residence, Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.  He and William Wilberforce are known to have walked on Keston Common and it's a significant location visited by Charles Darwin for his research.
 
This variety of natural history with the tranquillity and beauty to be found on this Common just 14 miles from the heart of London make it an astounding resource for everyone in the community.

Who We Are
 
The Friends of Keston Common (FoKC) is a voluntary non-profit making organisation with the main aim to conserve, maintain and protect this ancient Common as a place for recreation, enjoyment and pleasure for all who use it. Furthermore we aim to assist in providing an educational experience for the general public in the history, natural history and biodiversity of Keston Common.

FoKC began in October 2007 and ran informally for just over a year. An inaugural AGM was held in March 2009 following which a team of six committee members was formed and formal proceedings with constitution and bank account were established. Click here for full details of our latest constitution.

The group meets at the Westerham Road car-park at 10.00 a.m. every Friday morning for a couple of hours (or as long as individuals wish) to undertake a variety of tasks to meet our stated aims. Our morning schedule starts with a quick 10 to 20 minute litter pick around the Common followed by the task for the day (for example: clearing scrub/debris, fixing post & rail, restoring revetments, cutting back overgrown/overhanging foliage, bracken bashing or installing new benches). Our tasks are conducted under the guidance of our Site Community Manager, who also provides the necessary tools and safety instructions on their use.  We try to meet on these days but if it is a holiday weekend we may not. Please check the schedule on the 'What's on' page.
 
Membership to FoKC is free to although we much appreciate donations of any sort (money or otherwise) to help with the costs of promotion, hosting meetings and events and the distribution of information. We hold bi-annual open meetings to discuss and debate business matters such as progress on tasks completed, future plans, membership, finances and publicity. A diary of forthcoming events and dates within the community are also made available to all present.

All conservation work is carried out under the supervision of Idverde, Bromley Council's main contractor for the maintenance of parks and green spaces. For details of the group and meeting points for work days please contact the Countryside and Parks Service on 01689 862815 or email the Group at fokc.support@hotmail.co.uk


What Have We Done

Some of the activities completed include:
  • Clearance of footpaths, bridleway and general litter picking
  • Heathland restoration, removing mainly gorse and birch to improve the light available for heather, acid grassland, heathland mosses, rare lichens and associated invertebrates, lizards etc. 
  • Bog and valley mire enhancements, saplings, molinia grass and bramble have been cleared to enhance growth of mosses
  • Ravensbourne Meadows, removal of exotic species from the wetland to let in more light and improve the area for native species
  • Padmall Wood, removal of scrub and the harvesting of bamboo to introduce more light
  • Heathfield car-park area, removal of invasive exotic plants including rhododendron and cherry laurel
  • Developing the Nature Trail and installing the signage posts to guide walkers
  • Repair to post and rail fencing where needed
  • Repair and/or renewal of benches.

What Are Our Future Plans

In the immediate future our weekly tasks will continue in much the same vein as described above.  Litter clearance will continue to be high on our agenda as will reporting any fly-tipping and/or graffiti.

Over the coming year FoKC will be concentrating on improving the ponds and pathways to make the Common a welcoming place to come and visit. Restoration of the heathland and bog areas will continue as too the repair to post & rail and any dilapidated benches.