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Buttercups at Tolworth Court Farm. Image copyright Jan Hewlett Skylark. Image copyright P N Watts/English Nature

Tolworth Court Farm Fields and Medieval Moated Manor

Kingston upon Thames

Grade: Borough Grade I | Area: 58.58 ha

Access

Free public access (all/most of site)

Description

This large site comprises a mosaic of grazed and ungrazed pastures, hedgerows and small copses. Records suggest that the site has been farmed since at least 1086, when it is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Productive farming stopped in 1991 and the fields are now managed as hay meadows, mainly for wildlife. The hedge network is a genuine Medieval relict, with several veteran oak pollards present.Also of historic interest is the site of a former medieval moated manor house (a scheduled Ancient Monument) and the ancient trackway of Cox Lane which traverses the site. On the southern boundary is the Bonesgate Stream, flowing largely in an artificial course. Part of the site is a Local Nature Reserve.

Wildlife

The grassland diversity varies across the site, with some fields retaining species typical of old hay meadows, such as yellow rattle, pepper-saxifrage, ox-eye daisy and red bartsia. The damper fields support dense beds of rushes, as well as wetland birds in winter, such as common snipe. The breeding bird life is diverse and includes the nationally declining skylark.Several small areas of woodland have developed out from the hedgerows, consisting mostly of oak and elm. The remains of the moat form a large overgrown pond, overhung by willows and other wetland plants.

Facilities

Information; car parking; toilet; waymarked walking route; the London LOOP passes through the south-eastern corner of the site.

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