The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 8 Commons and Open Spaces

Plumstead Common

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Only a deep valley, with Wickham Lane on the track of a Roman road, divides Bostall Wood from Plumstead Common. This is open and breezy, standing high above what was in ancient times the marsh overflowed by the Thames. The greater part is, however, used by the military, and the trample of horse artillery makes it look like a desert. It is a curious effect to see this part of the Common in winter. It has probably been used for man£uvring all the week, and by Saturday afternoon there are pools of mud, and ruts, and furrows, and hoofmarks all over it. On this dreary waste hundreds of boys and young men, sorted according to age, play more or less serious football matches. The coats of the players, in four little heaps, do duty for goal-posts, and these are so thickly strewn over the surface, and the players so closely mingled, that the effect is like bands of savages fighting among their slain-the ancient barrow in the centre of the ground gives colour to the supposition. A sudden deep valley, called "the Slade," cuts the Common in two. In the hollow there are ponds, and on the high ground beyond stood a windmill, the remains of which are embedded in the Windmill Tavern.