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Kenley Common

Kenley Lane
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Kenley Common, fifty-six hectares of green open space surrounding a former Battle of Britain airfield, is a mixture of chalk grassland and ancient woodland set among the gently rolling hills of southLondon.

Traditional practices of haymaking and hedge laying, together with cattle and sheep that graze flower-rich meadows, contribute to the unique experience of a visit to Kenley.
Blessed with fineviews across the Caterham valley and the North Downs beyond, visitors find it hard to believe that the centre of London is only twenty kilometres to the north.

From the medieval period, commoners had rights to graze cattle and sheep and make use of the rich natural resources the land offered. Wide expanses of downland, together with traditional woodland management, would have created a more open landscape than the one visible today. This historic legacy still survives in the form of boundary banks and majestic, old trees.

The original Common was bought by the Corporation of London in 1883. At this time it encompassed some of the area that is now Kenley Airfield. The Common's history as an airfield goes back to the First World War when planes were assembled and tested for squadrons in France.
It proved an important link in the supply chain and became established as a permanent Royal Air Force station. World War Two saw concrete runways being laid and, as headquarters of "B" Sector in No 11 Group of fighter stations, it wassoon playing a key role in the Battle of Britain.
Kenley is now the last Battle of Britainfighter station in the south east to remain inits World War Two form. Evidence of its wartime role has survived, and you can still see the old blast bays, air raid shelters and officer's mess.

Today, the rattle of machine gun fire and the roar of engines has been replaced by the songof the skylark and the graceful flight of gliders training pilots of the future.



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