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Banstead Commons Conservators
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Banstead Commons consist of four separate areas of common land in the north of the Borough of Reigate and Banstead, Banstead Heath, Banstead Downs, Park Downs and Burgh Heath (see map). The Commons range from the M25 in the south to the border of the London Borough of Sutton in the north and comprise a total area of ~550 hectares (~1350 acres).
Although most of the Commons are now owned by Reigate and Banstead Council, as a result of the Metropolitan Commons (Banstead) Supplemental Act of 1893, the Commons are managed by the Banstead Commons Conservators. The Act conferred upon the Conservators a statutory duty to ensure safe and free access of the public to the commons and to protect the commons from damage and trespass. At the time of the Act this was intended, as much as anything, to protect the Commons from their owners although in this more enlightened age we hope that threats from this direction are unlikely.
As well as providing important recreational areas, the open spaces of the commons are important wildlife habitats. The northernmost two, Banstead Downs and Park Downs, are chalk downland, designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), an important aspect of their attraction to users. On Banstead Heath and Burgh Heath, a thicker layer of impervious clay and flints overly the chalk and these physical properties affect both the appearance of the commons and their floraand fauna. In an age of increasing urbanization this imparts significant responsibilities to manage the areas with maintenance of the wildlife value in mind.
Within these pages we tell you more about the Commons: where they are, how to get there, something of their history and what you can see on them especially with regard to their wildlife. We also give an summary of the history of the Conservators, who the Conservators are, how they are appointed and what they do.
Overall we hope these pages will raise public awareness of the Commons and the Conservators and encourage everyone to visit the Commons. We hope to provide information and links for both recreational and wildlife interests, if you have any comments or suggestions please let us know. Contact us here.
Activities on the Commons
History of Banstead Commons
Our Act and Byelaws