Ashtead and Epsom Commons

Survey of the archaeological and historic landscape of the Commons by C Currie of CKC Archaeology, for SCC and the Corporation of London, undertaken with reference to them being proposed as Areas of Historic Landscape Value. In the north of Ashtead Common a number of earthworks and other features surround the site of a Roman villa. The villa is a rare type of corridor villa, with considerable evidence that it adjoined a large scale tile manufactory. Extensive areas of quarries and spoil heaps demonstrate the extent of industrial activity on the site in the Roman period. Nearby are further earthworks associated with a large undated ditched enclosure, and a 17th century medicinal well. There are also a large number of ancient pollarded oaks on the common. They are a rare survival of an ancient land management type that was mainly superseded in other parts of England in the post-medieval period by overgrazing. Epsom Common has few surviving historic features. The site of Old Wells, a 17th century mineral spring for which Epsom is strongly associated, is covered in housing. Those features that do remain, such as the Stew Ponds, have been much altered, and the historic character of the farmland to the south-west of Ashtead Common has been affected by the evolution of temporary features associated with the pasturing of horses. (333)