Wimbledon and Putney Commons

From Academic Kids

Wimbledon and Putney Commons consist of a large open space south west of London comprising 1140 acres (4.6 km²). The area comprises three distinct segments -- Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath and Putney Lower Common, the latter being separated from the rest of the Common by about 1.5 miles (2.4km) of built-up area. The Commons are legally protected by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act of 1871 from being enclosed or built upon. There are for the benefit of local people for informal recreation and the preservation of natural flora and fauna. The Commons are the largest expanse of heathland in the London area. There is an area of bog with unique flora. The western slopes, which lie on London Clay, support mature mixed woodland. The Commons are also a flagship site for the stag beetle.

Most of the Commons are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a candidate Special Area of Conservation which is an important European designation. English Nature supervise the site management plan for the area.

The Commons are administered by eight Conservators five of whom are elected triennially and the remaining three are appointed by three government departments: Department of the Environment, Ministry of Defence and the Home Office. The Commons are managed by the Clerk and Ranger who is supported by a Deputy, an Assistant Ranger and a Secretary. There are seven Keepers (who deal with public safety and security), three groundsmen (for the playing fields), seven maintenance workers and one property maintenance worker - comprising some 22 employees in total. There are at least four horses which are used by the mounted patrol of the Keepers.

The Conservators are responsible for the annual budget of around 1m. Most of the revenue comes from an annual levy on houses within 3/4 mile (1.2 km) of the Commons. The levy payers are entitled to vote for the five Conservators. The levy payers fall within three London boroughs: Merton, Wandsworth (which includes Putney) and Kingston.

Lower Putney Common hosted Fulham F.C.'s home games in the 1885/1886 season.

Wimbledon Common in fiction

The Common is home to The Wombles, the children TV characters.

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