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For Events on the City of London Commons; please go to each individual newsletter below to see what is happening.

June 2024

City Commons (Riddlesdown & Coulsdon) News

City Commons (Ashtead) News

City Commons (W Wickham) News

May 2024

City Commons (Riddlesdown & Coulsdon) News

City Commons (Ashstead) News

City Commons (W Wickham) News

April 2024

City Commons (Riddlesdown & Coulsdon) News

City Commons (W Wickham) News

City Commons (Ashtead) News

March 2024

City Commons (Riddlesdown & Coulsdon) News

City Commons (W Wickham) News

City Commons (Ashtead) News

Newsletters from the City of London

Each month the City Of London Commons send out a digital round-up of what’s been happening across the four Coulsdon Commons (Farthing Downs, Coulsdon Common, Kenley Common and Riddlesdown). This features news from your local commons, upcoming events (including workshops, guided walks and talks), volunteering opportunities and things to see and do.

To sign up, visit the link below or email city.commons@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Or visit:

http://eepurl.com/5VSVL (newsletter)


https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/the-coulsdon-commons (website)

Riddlesdown Open Space (end of Riddlesdown Rd) - Car Parking Charges commenced on 25 January 2021

Updated 15/12/21

The City of London brought in new parking charges to both Riddlesdown and Farthing Downs car parks from Monday 25 January 2021. A number of residents contacted us and Ward Cllrs about this and particular about the concern of further on street parking to nearby roads, particularly close to Riddlesdown Open Space.

We have taken some information below from the C of L website. There are also some 'frequently asked questions' on their website

"How much is it to park? - ANPR cameras will monitor vehicle movement into and out of the car parks. There is a 10 minute grace window before charges apply.

Costs will be:

Monday - Friday (excluding bank/public holidays)

    Up to 2 hours: £1.50

    All day: £3

Weekends and bank/public holidays

    All day: £3

Coaches and minibuses*

    All times £18

*17 seats or more

Parking is free for disabled visitors displaying a correct blue badge and registering their vehicle via email or telephone (01785 336780).

Season tickets; Season tickets can be bought through RingGo (external link) from Wednesday 20th January (note: you may find it simpler to do this if you have first registered with RingGo).

How to pay: You can pay a number of ways:

    Contactless cards and debit/credit cards at the payment machines by the car parks

    Via the RingGo app (external link)

    RingGo pay by phone system (details on the side of the machines)."

Beware if paying by the RingGo app that there are extra charges which are 25p for a text confirmation of your booking and a 25p reminder charges and are optional, which if you don’t want to pay, you need to turn off by going to the account settings section of the app. Also if you wish to register 2 vehicles that belong to the same address use the 2 Car Season Ticket permit - a charge per additional vehicle applies £20 per year or £2 per month.

The RRA and local Riddlesdown Ward Cllrs have been in correspondence with the C of L about these charges since November 2019, as we believe, especially for Riddlesdown Open Space, users will possibly park in nearby streets and cause inconvenience to those residents. This is in addition to all the parking, during school weekdays, for the nearby Riddlesdown Collegiate.

Whilst some may support the parking charges, we believe many residents living in the streets nearby to Riddlesdown won't. Certainly resident feedback we have received so far about the proposed charges is one of dismay.

Update 14/12/21

Because there are no ‘Traffic Wardens’ patrolling the ‘Common’ car park, residents and users might think that by parking there for a few minutes, that they will ‘get away’ without paying.

We have been advised by a number of users that they have received a ‘Park Charge Notice’ from District Enforcement. Users, by parking there in excess of 10 minutes (drivers only have 10 minutes grace to make a payment - there is no notification about this on site!) and not paying will receive a Park Charge Notice. There is an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera at the gate and this camera logs all vehicle registration numbers in and out. Be warned!

Of course if a disabled driver has pre-registered their vehicle and other drivers have purchased a season ticket then this does not apply to them.

Stop- Look –  Signs of Spring: Skylarks over Riddlesdown Open Space - By Nicola Hunt - a volunteer for the Sanderstead to Whyteleafe Countryside area

Updated 29/3/23

“Signs of Spring: Skylarks over Riddlesdown

Spring is now well on its way and the local wildlife is getting ready for a busy breeding season. If you are walking on Sanderstead to Whyteleafe Countryside Area (or otherwise known as Riddlesdown Open Space) you should hear the joyful song of the skylark in many of the fields. Look up and you may be able to see a speck hovering high in the sky. This is the male skylark proclaiming its territory and attracting a female. Sometimes you will see a skirmish as two males fly fast at low level chasing each other off their selected breeding territory.

The song of these special birds would have been a familiar sound to our grandparents or great grand parents but skylarks are now a rare sight or sound in London. Britain has lost 61% of these birds in the last 40 years much due to the loss of suitable breeding sites. We are so lucky to have them living and breeding on our local open space. They nest on the ground in grassy fields and are easily scared off the nest or away from their flightless young if people or dogs gets too close. This reduces their chances of successfully hatching their eggs and rearing their young. This is why it is important to keep to marked paths and keep dogs on short leads when walking in areas where they nest.

Please look out for the signs indicating the nesting areas and help the skylark to continue to be successful.”

On Riddlesdown Open Space the nesting grounds are generally (but not exclusively), the large fields of Skylark Field, Long Acres, Ibetts Piece, Dipsley Shaw and Field - see map below. Please during breeding season keep your dogs on a lead within these areas and keep to the well worn footpaths. Skylarks have also been seen nesting on the farm fields of Mitchley Hill/Rectory Park and Mitchley Ave. Again please keep to the Public Footpaths across this land. More information about skylarks are on the RSPB website

The new ‘South London Downs National Nature Reserve’

Updated 11/8/19

Introducing London’s Newest National Nature Reserve - July 2019

The extract below is taken from the City of London’s Newsletter July 2019

“We are thrilled to announce that the Coulsdon Commons have been declared part of a new National Nature Reserve; the South London Downs National Nature Reserve. National Nature Reserves are recognised for having nationally important habitats or species and bring greater levels of protection to conserve landscapes. The NNR will be the second biggest in London, joining Richmond Park and Ruislip Woods, and will bring together the 417 hectares of land managed by City of London and London Borough of Croydon to create a landscape both rich in nature and where people can engage with the natural world.”

A map of the South London Downs National Nature Reserve

A map of the South London Downs National Nature Reserve showing land ownership.

The above maps are published and acknowledged with thanks to the City of London Corporation and Croydon Council.

A recent press release from Natural England stating that Riddlesdown and all other City of London Commons/Croydon Council land (Coulsdon, Farthing Downs, Happy Valley, Kenley Common, Sanderstead and Whyteleafe etc) will be declared as the "South London Downs”

News letter No.23; February 2014

Court prosecution

In May 2013 one of our Jacob sheep was attacked by a dog on Riddlesdown. The dog was caught by visitors and we got details of the dog’s owner. The City of London Corporation decided to prosecute and on 27th January 2014 the dog’s owner was sentenced to a fine of £600, ordered to pay £95 in compensation and prosecution costs of £100.

We welcome responsible dog walkers to our open spaces but it is vitally important that visitors keep their dogs under effective control – especially where livestock are present. When livestock are attacked we will prosecute.

For full story see:


Winter bluebell on the downs?

A shrill steam whistle heralded a visit by the Bluebell Special to Riddlesdown as it travelled from East Grinstead, steaming out of the tunnel and across the mainline viaduct spanning the Quarry. This is one of the steam engine “Specials” pulling carriages full of passengers on daytrips along the Bluebell’s recently extended route.

A century ago, thousands escaped smog of London and travelled to the Victorian theme park on the lower slopes of Riddlesdown. Famed for its tea gardens, miniature railway, monkey house and other rural delights, Gardner’s pleasure resort had over four thousand visitors on an August Bank Holiday back in 1908 - and we are still finding their discarded bottles today!

Thank you to Alan Barnes for his stunning photograph.

See also the page on our website about steam trains passing through Riddlesdown Link

Riddlesdown Common - January 2013

Increasing numbers of deer have been seen roaming Riddlesdown Common and the adjoining Green Belt wood and scrub land. This is good to see.

However, there have also recently been reports of  a number of dogs seen chasing deer. Unfortunately on Saturday 5 January 2013 at approx 9.30am, two Alsatian dogs were seen chasing deer which resulted in one doe being severely injured. The Police and a vet were called to the injured deer which subsequently had to be put down by injection. The Police at Sanderstead SNT  are pursuing their enquiries to establish the dog owner(s).

Dog owners are reminded to keep their dogs under control at all times when on the Common and to be prepared to encounter deer at any time. If owners have large dogs and are likely to chase deer, then they are urged to take measures, to prevent further attacks.

Consultation to Expand the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty  (AONB)

Updated 31/3/23

Many residents may have seen on tv and read that Natural England started a review of the AONB boundary review process in late 2021 and this ran until January 2022.

The RRA in 2022, and many others, submitted comments about including Riddlesdown, Kenley & Coulsdon Commons within this AONB proposed extension of areas, plus some Sanderstead land.

Unfortunately, we learnt at the beginning of March 2023 that these four areas were not to be included. Basically, it is surrounded by too many urban areas to the south. But Happy Valley and Farthing Downs in Coulsdon were proposed to be included.

Another consultation is now under way until 13 June 2023 and further comments can be submitted, to again justify the case for Riddlesdown, Kenley & Coulsdon Commons. Support can also be given to include Happy Valley & Farthing Downs. There could be objections about these two suggested areas to be included in the AONB.

The start of the further consultation process can be found on this link

The report for Riddlesdown, Kenley & Coulsdon etc is under 'EA8b' on page 114 of this link, under 'Technical Reports' - then 'Natural Beauty Report' and scroll down to page 114;

Posted 13/1/22

Information about a little publicised survey (including Riddlesdown Open Space)

"Consultation to Expand the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

You may be aware that the Government’s advisor on the natural environment, Natural England, is running a public consultation to expand the boundaries of four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). These proposals have the potential to deliver over 1600 additional square km of protected land. This is part of the Government’s commitment to protect 30% of our land by 2030 for nature. The boundaries of the Surrey Hills AONB are included in this review and I am delighted that potential candidates for areas of outstanding natural beauty include Farthing Downs, Happy Valley, Coulsdon Common and Riddlesdown.


The Surrey Hills AONB boundary has not been reviewed since its original designation in 1958 and I know that there have been repeated calls by local campaigners to reconsider the boundary. Including parts of our local area in the Surrey Hills AONB could help preserve the natural environment and heritage while providing an opportunity to support people’s health and wellbeing through access to nature. The consultation is considering areas of high scenic quality including chalk grassland, parkland, and historic features.


The first stage of the public consultation is running until 31 January 2022. After this, further field work and evaluation will take place, followed by the identification of candidate areas by June 2022. The Call for Evidence is asking for locations accompanied by a photograph and description of the special qualities of the location, such as the landscape quality and tranquillity, as well as any additional supporting comments. You can read more about the consultation and how to respond by post here

This is a fantastic opportunity for our area, and I hope that you take part in the consultation. Please do also forward this to friends and family in our area who may be interested.

Best wishes,

Chris Philp

Member of Parliament for Croydon South"

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