The Friends of Barnes Common (FoBC) was set up in 1992 as a not for profit association to actively participate in the management, conservation and enhancement of the Common. It is run by a committee of 10 and has a membership of over 200 individuals.
Since then, FoBC has maintained and extended the valuable acid grassland and successfully secured funding for a wide range of projects including a reedbed and two new ponds. Volunteers and staff spend a great deal of time removing litter and regularly emptying the litter bins on the Common.
From 1st April 2015, in order to strengthen its legal and financial standing, FoBC became a not for profit, limited liability company with charitable status .
Since 925AD, the Common has been owned by the Dean & Chapter of St Paul’s. The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has overall responsibility for its upkeep. FoBC undertakes the management of the Common on behalf of the council.
The Common is designated as Metropolitan Open Land and as a Conservation Area as well as being a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Nature Conservation Importance.
What do we do?
Without constant management, the nationally scarce acid grassland would become invaded by bracken, bramble, gorse and tree saplings. Eventually, it would revert to poor quality woodland, reducing the open feeling of the Common and its biodiversity.
Our Management Plan covers amenity, education and wildlife conservation. Larger projects include the sowing of a new wildflower meadow and an exciting pond restoration scheme near Vine Road. Routine conservation work includes the removal of non-native trees in favour of natives such as oak and ash and improving light penetration by thinning and glade creation benefits butterflies and birds. Standing dead wood is left whenever possible as an invaluable refuge for beetles and other invertebrates.
FoBC monitors wider issues that could impact the Common, from planning applications to fly-tipping. We work closely with the council, and community and environmental groups including Barnes Community Association, South West London Environmental Network and local police.