Shortfield Common Communication


Dear Resident


In 2012 a survey was undertaken for Shortfield Common by Surrey Wildlife Trust and the Surrey Botanical Society, in which over 100 species of wildflowers were identified. As a result, the Parish Council submitted the common for selection as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) which was granted.


The Parish Council are in the process of updating the Shortfield Common Management Plan and recently instructed Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) to revisit this area.  Their report highlighted that the common is made up of Acid Grassland which qualifies as a Habitat of Principal Importance (HPI). Nationally, Acid Grassland is very scarce and in serious decline. Additionally, it reported that we have several rare species of plants; one of which was recorded as an England Red Listed Plant (ERL) and Near Threatened and another as ERL and Vulnerable.


Of the 100 species of plants on the common only 31 were identified within the Acid Grassland area showing how diverse Shortfield Common is.


In summary, Surrey Wildlife Trust states that:

“Acid Grassland, woodland and other habitats together create the beautiful landscape in Shortfield Common, steeped in history and provides a place of beauty and tranquillity for the community to enjoy”


We are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful common and the Parish Council are taking heed of the SWT’s report to ensure the area is protected and allowed to flourish. To this end we are following the advice in the report and will be arranging a number of volunteer activities to undertake the actions they have suggested.


We recently had an incident where a traveller set-up camp on the common. Although he kindly agreed to move on it brought home the fact that the common is open to unauthorised access and serious damage that would require us to engage the courts to remove. Additionally, there are a number of cars that have parked at the sides of the common that have caused some of the grassland to have been eroded.


We therefore intend to replace the woodland posts around the common that were in-place a number of years ago but allowed to rot away. We will extend the existing woodland posts around the common as highlighted in yellow on the map below. There will also be a low barrier gate to allow a single point of vehicular access. The erection of the posts is planned to start on March 1st this year, but we would be welcome any questions or feedback and ask you to email these to Rachel at



Frensham Parish Council


Surrey Wildlife Trust

Please find below the link to the Surrey Wildlife Trust findings on a visit to Shortfield Common.



Shortfield Common Cutting

What’s Happening at Shortfield Common ?

Shortfield Common is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) and the Parish Council consider its protection and management one of our key priorities. We asked the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) to visit this area to identify any rare or protected flowers or grasses.  Their report highlighted that the common is made up of Acid Grassland which qualifies as a Habitat of Principal Importance (HPI). Nationally, Acid Grassland is very scarce and in serious decline. Additionally, it reported that we have several rare species of plants; one of which was recorded as an England Red Listed Plant (ERL) and Near Threatened and another as ERL and Vulnerable.

 In summary, Surrey Wildlife Trust stated that:

“Acid Grassland, woodland and other habitats together create the beautiful landscape in Shortfield Common, steeped in history and provides a place of beauty and tranquility for the community to enjoy”.

Over recent years it has been obvious that the grasses haven’t been as rich or as dense as in the past. A point that was made clear to us by a number of photos taken over the last 20 years. This can be attributed to a number of reasons; the weather, the month in which the grasses are cut and the height of the cut. Additionally, we need to consider the rare flora identified by Surrey Wildlife and the lifecycle of Butterflies that grow in abundance in the common. This creates a dichotomy as the grasses may react better to an earlier and shorter cut whilst the rare flowers require a higher cut for protection and Butterflies come out during or after September.

To understand the most appropriate timing and height for the grasses to be cut we have decided to split the management of Shortfield Common into 2 areas. This is to allow differing maintenance schedules for Grass Cutting taking into account the suggestions made from Surrey Wildlife and the experience and history of Shortfield Common from local residents.

The attached aerial photo shows how these two areas are to be split. The reasoning for this is:

  1. We need to take a proportion of the same area of existing grassland to monitor how the different management schedules will affect growth.
  2. The section “2” to the north of the common consists of Heather, Gorse and was the main area where Sheeps Bit and other species of wildflowers can be found.
  3. The grassland between West End Lane and Gorse Cottages “3” also consists of rare species of wildflowers and caterpillars. In the main it will follow the management schedules of section “2”

 Surrey Wildlife suggest that changes seen from differing management schedules should be monitored over a minimum period of 2 years. With their support we will take details of the common as-is and to ensure we measure and photograph changes over this minimum period. From the attached photos you can see where the first cut has been made and the second, higher, cut is planned for September.

The millenium tree and bench

The circular teak seat has now become a reality after a long period of selecting a location both in a prominent, visible and convenient position for the use and enjoyment for the Community. The delay in achieving the project was partly due to uncertainties over whether the Council had a legal right to site a seat on land, which it did not have title to. This has now been resolved and the Council has legal title to Shortfield Common.
The position of the seat was determined by the planting of the Millennium Oak, the impact of which was generally lost by the immediate wooded surroundings. the setting has now changed with the seat being built around the tree.

The seat, which is set on a paved surround, is in high quality environmentally sustainable Teak, which should weather and eventually take on a grey appearance and hence be maintenance free, not requiring annual treatment and should last a lifetime. The back is hand carved in the round with details of the Queens Jubilee. The turfed area around the seat will be maintained by the Parish Council, treat it as a meadow rather than your garden lawn finish.

The project is almost completed with the outstanding works being the installation of a few chestnut posts to prevent cars parking and alert children of the edge, strimming the immediate surrounding area, lopping some lower branches of the Oak Tree to assist the tree to grow upwards and felling two spindly trees to give daylight and space to the surrounding trees including the Oak.

The area is for the enjoyment of the Community and it is hoped to keep it in a tidy condition with no litter and no dog fouling. Please take that all home with you. We have decided for the sake of appearance and natural habitat not to place a litterbin in the wood.