Ditchling Common, East Sussex

NAME OF COMMON: Ditchling Common

PARISH: Ditchling

COUNTY: East Sussex

CL NUMBER: CL16

ACREAGE: Approx. 300a

 

INTRODUCTION

Ditchling Common (CL 16), together with nearby Tenantry Down (CL 17, Tract of Ditchling Beacon, approx. 50a), are located in the South Downs, in the parish of Ditchling, in East Sussex.  Ditchling Common has a history of grazing by cattle, sheep and horses, and other uses, including the collection of bracken, gorse and firewood, and recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, skating and walking.  Both Ditchling Common and Tenantry Down were owned by the Marquis of Abergavenny until their purchase by the commoners in 1950.  The north end of Ditchling Common was subsequently bought by East Sussex County Council in 1974 to create a country park, and is managed by rangers.  The remainder of the common is managed by Ditchling Commoners’ Association.  Tenantry Down is let to Sussex Wildlife Trust.  The commons have a high conservation value with rare species, wetland, grassland and woodland habitats; they have an SSSI designation.  We are grateful to Ditchling History Project, Ditchling Common & Tenantry Down Ltd, and Ditchling Commoners’ Association for the information supplied below.  The material submitted relates primarily to Ditchling Common, with some aspects also relevant to Tenantry Down.

 

HISTORY

Click on the links below to see summary information on each theme:

1. How was the common used and how has use of the common changed?

2. How was the common regulated?

3. How has the common itself changed?

 

HISTORICAL PAPER

Please see the following short history of the common produced by the Commoners’ Association (opens as PDF):

Short History of Ditchling Common and Tenantry Down (Secretary, Ditchling Common & Tenantry Down Ltd and Ditchling Commoners’ Assiociation, May 2010).

 

SOURCES

The Commons Story presented here is drawn from a completed questionnaire, email correspondence, historical paper and the following sources:

Oral sources and local memory:

The Compilers completed the History Questionnaire using: their own memories and knowledge; and memories and knowledge gathered through personal conversations/interviews with others, and through community discussions/meetings.

The Compilers consulted the following written sources/manuscripts:

Cribb P, The Commons of Ditchling (unpublished).

Christie ME, Ditchling, St Dominic’s Press (1937).

East Sussex County Council, Country Park Management Plan (1990).

KilBride, J, Short History of Ditchling Common and Tenantry Down, Paper, Ditchling Common & Tenantry Down Ltd and Ditchling Commoners’ Assiociation (May 2010).

Moore M, Ditchling Common and Tenantry Down; the struggle to protect an ancient landscape.

Ditchling Common & Tenantry Down. Occasional paper, Ditchling History Project (2004).

 

USEFUL WEBSITES:

Ditchling History Project 

Ditchling Parish Council

Ditchling Common Country Park (East Sussex CC)

Ditchling Beacon (Sussex Wildlife Trust)

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We are grateful to Ditchling History Project, Ditchling Common &
Tenantry Down Ltd, and Ditchling Commoners’ Association, for compiling and submitting information to the Building Commons Knowledge Project.

COMPILER: Ditchling History Project, Ditchling Common & Tenantry Down Ltd, and Ditchling Commoners’ Association.