Greenham and Crookham Commons
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Crookham Common
Area of SearchBerkshire
Grid referenceSU 501 644[1]
InterestBiological
Area280.5 hectares (693 acres)[1]
Notification1994[1]
Location mapMagic Map

Greenham and Crookham Commons are two adjoining public park areas of 280.5-hectare (693-acre) common land designated as a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the civil parishes of Greenham and Thatcham, on the southern outskirts of Newbury in the English county of Berkshire.

Public park

In 1997 Greenham and Crookham Commons were designated as public parkland. Cattle from local farms are permitted to graze the Commons and often stray onto the adjacent Burys Bank Road.[2]

Site of Special Scientific Interest

The SSSI is in several areas[1][3] and it is part of the 444-hectare (1,100-acre) Greenham and Crookham Commons nature reserve, which is owned by West Berkshire Council and managed by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.[4]

The two commons have the largest area of heathland and acid grassland in the county and other habitats are gorse scrub, broad leaved woodland and water-logged alder valleys. There is a rich variety of invertebrates, such as the white admiral, purple emperor and silver-washed fritillary woodland butterflies.[5]

History

Pre-20th century

The area has been common grazing land for the parishes since Norman times. Besides the grazing of local animals, the commons were used for troop movements during the English Civil War and in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries.[6]

World War II and Cold War

Main article: RAF Greenham Common

The area became a Royal Air Force station called RAF Greenham Common in 1942, it was used by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War and the United States Air Force during the Cold War, also as a base for nuclear weapons. In the 1980s, the commons therefore became the location of the Women's Peace Camp, but following the closure of the base, in September 1992, it was opened to the public as a nature reserve in 2000.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Designated Sites View: Greenham and Crookham Commons". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Drivers urged to slow down and be vigilant for cattle in Greenham". inyourarea.co.uk. 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  3. ^ "Map of Greenham and Crookham Commons". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Greenham and Crookham Commons". Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Greenham and Crookham Commons citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  6. ^ Ford, David Nash (2020). West Berkshire Town and Village Histories. Wokingham: Nash Ford Publishing. pp. 125–133. ISBN 9781905191031.

Coordinates: 51°22′34″N 1°16′55″W / 51.376°N 1.282°W / 51.376; -1.282