The areas of acid grassland on the Commons are extremely important. They are listed as a priority habitat in the government’s UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Maintenance of such grassland is most effective with grazing livestock, but this is not a feasible option on Chislehurst’s unfenced Commons.
Instead the grassland is left uncut until the end of the growing season. When the grasses – Harebell, Knapweed, Devil’s-bit Scabious, Lady’s Bedstraw and Sheep’s Sorrel – have flowered and dropped their seeds, the areas are mowed. The cuttings are raked off in order to deprive the soil of extra nutrients, which would encourage the growth of Nettles, tree seedlings and coarse grasses.
Certain areas of grassland, including the large field at the top of the High Street and the area alongside Church Row, are more regularly mown so that they are suitable for children’s games and community events.