Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons
Minchinhampton Common is known as a "surprise" landscape. Its Cotswold scarp top, once medieval woodland, was used by commoners needing wood for house repair and fuel. An essential part of the working agricultural landscape, some earthworks remain - the "Bulwarks" are considered prehistoric.
Quarrying took place in the fourteenth century, but three centuries later, the woodland was replaced by open limestone grassland - some of the finest in Europe and protected by English Nature.
Look out for a sealed Neolithic long barrow known as Whitefield's Tump, which gets largely obscured by summer vegetation and is where the Methodist leader preached sermons to thousands.
Minchinhampton's "Standing Stone", a piece of limestone, stands almost eight feet, with two big, natural perforations and a number of small ones. Ancient sources claim that passing a baby, arm, hand or foot through the hole, acts as a cure for rickets or smallpox.
The "Tingle Stone" just outside Minchinhampton, on Princess Anne's patrolled land in Gatcombe Park, is so-say charged with electricity. According to local tradition, the stone runs around the field at midnight!
Rodborough Common provides panoramic views of the District's secret valleys. It is also home to a number of wild flowers and butterflies. Perched on the Common's edge is a much used refuge.
Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons cover approximately 335 hectares and are owned and managed by the National Trust. Further information can be found on the National Trust website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
What is Common Land?
Common land is land, usually in private ownership, that has rights of common over it. It is generally open, unfenced and remote.
Rights of common can include:
- grazing sheep or cattle (herbage)
- taking peat or turf (turbary)
- taking wood, gorse or furze (estovers)
- taking of fish (piscary)
- eating of acorns or beechmast by pigs (pannage)