<< Back

Nature Watch
By Roger Wilmshurst

The winning of sand at Rock Common began in the 1920’s. It formed the forty-five or so acres of land belonging to Sandhill Farm and from which the property took its name. It has been dug to a considerable depth since then, resulting in high cliffs on all sides. It is probably one of the largest sand quarries in the country and is outstanding not only because of the beauty of its location and stunning sand faces, but also because of the wildlife it supports.

Rock Common Quarry boasts the most important Sand Martin colonies in Sussex. A vital feature for them is the sand cliffs in which they make their homes. The late Chris Mead of the British Trust for Ornithology made a life-long study of these delightful birds, a considerable amount of which was carried out in this very spot. The Sand Martin has declined greatly in numbers in recent years, and it would be irresponsible not to provide them with every protection possible. Careful management of the cliff faces could lead to much greater numbers of Sand Martins breeding here.

A freak occurence in the 1950’s saw the Bee-Eater breeding in a disused sand quarry in Street. In the last two or three years breeding pairs have been spotted in more than one location in England, and it is considered highly probable that this trend will continue. If we manage the quarry with care, it is feasible that we might be able to develop a colony at Rock Common.