Offering over 50Ha (100 acres) of Metropolitan Open Land just a few miles from central London, Barnes Common is important for a host of reasons. It is popular with joggers, dog walkers, and those who just want to get away from the bustle of city living for a while. Although several roads cut through it, including the busy Rocks Lane, traffic noise is effectively screened by the natural barrier of trees and shrubs which also provides an invaluable habitat for wildlife. The football and cricket pitches are used extensively during weekends, holidays and summer evenings.
The Common also has extensive areas of acid grassland, a feature similar to upland moors which can be found on sandy and gravel soils. Lowland acid grassland has become rare because it has been recognised as excellent building land. The important thing is that the soil is acidic and has few nutrients. Small, fine grasses, small wildflowers and invertebrates can cope with these conditions; once any land is fertilised, stronger grasses and flowers will always crowd out the fine plants.
Acid grassland on Barnes Common has wonderful biodiversity. Because of the variety of different fine grasses and wildflowers, a great range of invertebrates can find good places to live. Barnes Common is home to several creatures that are on the endangered list. And because there is a huge range of insects, there is also good eating for the birds.
Barnes Common is managed by the Local Authority, with the Friends of Barnes Common giving advice and assistance in this task.