The Parish Council have a lease with the Church Commissioners to maintain Honeymoor Common, Ruckhall Common and Littlemarsh Common. The previous lease expired in 2007 and although the Parish Council pressed for a renewal no agreement was reached. The agents for the Church Commissioners then put the Eaton Bishop Commons up for sale and with little interest shown, the Commons were withdrawn from the market. At this stage the Parish Council again approached the agents and in July 2012 a 21 year lease was agreed with the Church Commissioners to maintain the Commons as they were from the date of the lease.

The Commons are an important part of the Parish and enjoyed by many people with the Commoners always maintaining their rights of grazing etc. The Parish Council are therefore proactive in the 'topping' of large areas of Honeymoor on an annual basis and regular grass cutting of areas of Ruckhall Common.

Littlemarsh Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designated as a mosaic of wet marshy grassland, scrub and woodland that has become overgrown with scrub over many years. The Parish Council has started on a restoration programme to improve the Common for local people and wildlife

The Parish Council applied to Natural England for guidance and financial help to to support the necessary work at Littlemarsh Common. This has resulted in a 10 year Entry and Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Agreement with Natural England until 2024.

The funding secured is divided between maintenance and capital works with maintenance payments covering a period of 10 years and capital works and payments to be completed by August 2017. The total funding amounts to approximately £8,500.00. All work is carried out with the full agreement of the Littlemarsh Commoners and the Church Commissioners.

Anyone wanting to join the volunteer group for work parties please contact Caroline Hanks 01981 250239 or hankscaroline@gmail.com  

Brief time line Littlemarsh Common

Apr 2014 Initial contact with Natural England to siscuss SSSI unfavourable status

Jul 2014 Environmental Stewardship ELS/HLS agreed between EBPC and Natural England

Sep 2014 Start date of Agreement

During the last 3 years Commoners, local volunteers, contractors and a small flock of sheep have coppiced scrub, pollarded and felled some trees, brushcut and mown, desilted the small pond, made and put up bird boxes and pruned fruit trees. The coppice layer is regenerating and grass and wildflowers are already returning to the open areas of the Common and the site looks very different. Work will continue at a more gentle rate now and we are confident Littlemarsh Common is on track to favourable status as an important wildlife site in the Parish.

Updates

In Spring 2017 more than 40 common spotted orchids flowered along with ragged robin, adder's tongue fern, bird's foot trefoil, and abundant meadowsweet. Many of these plants have been supressed by the scrub for many years and we hope to see other plants and wildlife re-establishing at Littlemarsh in coming years.

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