The Sudbury Common Lands are managed by sixteen Trustees. The area was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1990 and a County Wildlife Site in 2007. The land is managed within environmentally sympathetic agricultural schemes without the use of chemicals. Summer grazing continues to hold the key to the maintenance and management of the land. In the autumn the cattle are moved off before the river flood plain becomes saturated.
The Trustees aim to maintain and enhance the unique riverside landscape and encourage wildlife to flourish. As the land has never been ploughed numerous species of native grasses support the grazing cattle. Various rushes and sedges also grow in the pastures along with a variety of wildflowers.
Since the late 1980s many ditches and ponds have been restored and these now provide a suitable habitat for a range of animals and plants. Some of the wetland plants, including flowering rush, tubular water dropwort and round fruited rush are now uncommon in Suffolk. Among a wide range of insect life, many species of damselfly and dragonfly can be seen throughout the summer months.
The Trustees have carried out comprehensive access improvements. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 permits open access over common land but the right of access is coupled with the duty of responsible behaviour. Please note that in order to enjoy your visit safely all notices at access points must be heeded. Keep well away from all cattle. Keep dogs under control; they must not be allowed to chase birds or worry cattle. Your presence on this land implies that you accept the bylaws and site regulations as displayed by the Floodgates near The Croft.
With changing agricultural practices and increasing human pressures, the continuation of grazing on the lands will require careful management. The challenge for the Trustees is to retain the ancient traditions of this farmland in the face of a rapidly changing society. Everyone has a role to play in securing the future of this pleasant tract of English countryside so please ENJOY, VALUE and RESPECT the Sudbury Common Lands.
Through their Rangers, The Trustees offer guided walks, talks and educational work with local schools to inform everyone about the value of the area. Uniformed Volunteer Rangers are also able to provide information and assistance.
Contributions towards the continued maintenance and management of this special landscape are welcomed in the form of volunteer commitment, donations and legacies and through the purchase of the book ‘An Appreciation of Sudbury’s ancient Common Lands’.