History of the Kinson Common
The Kinson Common is an important Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Local Nature Reserve.
The area is rich in acidic deposits of plateau gravels and Bagshot beds. The richness of these relic heathland communities, both in terms of their plant life and associated fauna, is even more significant given their largely urban location. Habitats found on the Common include:
Dry Heath; Humid and Wet heath; Scrub; Woodland, Grassland; Marsh and areas of Open Water.
Palaeoliths from the Old Stone Age were found near Kinson Road in 1927. Rolled palaeoliths and
sharper levallois were found between 1927 to 1934. Some of these were sent to the British Museum. Smaller flint implements were found on the ground surface on site and relate to the Beolithis and Bronze Age periods. Two Bronze Age Barrows: one a Bowl barrow; a rarer type known as a Saucer barrow, survive intact on an area renamed Two Barrow Heath in the 1980`s by the then Kinson Common Management committee, who worked under a legal agreement with the Amenities Committee of Bournemouth Borough Council.
Early to later history
The site was originally owned by the Canford Estate. Notable owners of this estate have included the Webb family from Odstock and in more modern times, the Guest family. The site is much older than Bournemouth and given its geographical location, it could be named the West Howe Common. As the boundaries of Kinson once stretched to the borders of Poole, taking in areas such as West Howe also, the accepted name locally by everyone is the Kinson Common.
18th and 19th century field boundary systems are still visible. The outlines of many of the remaining areas can still be matched accurately with the important 1839 Kinson Tithe Map.
Some of the field systems remaining in 2003, existed as early as the 16th century.
Modern use of the site centres on nature conservation with good opportunities for quiet recreation. Over one hundred years ago, the whole area was used for farming purposes and was known as Howe Farm. Turves were collected in the 18th century, also wood for fuel. In the last one hundred and fifty years, much of the original woodland has disappeared.
Gravel pits scatttered around the site were probaly in use as early as the 1700`s. Two streams meander through the Common and were once the main source of water for everyone living in the West Howe or lower Kinson regions.
During the ownership of the Guest family, gamekeepers` kept a watchful eye on the pheasants and other game birds reared on or near the heathland. Many "shoots" were held annually to amuse the local gentry. Those days are now gone and snipe, woodcock, pheasant, rabbits and other creatures now inhabit the Common and live in complete freedom.
Many raised earth banks survive, as do unusual drainage channels in the Central Bog region. These are surviving relics to remind us that the whole of the Common was once farmed quite intensively in the mid 1830`s.
The outline remains of a farm building dating to early last century still survive on Two Barrow Heath. At this place, a small farmer once kept his cows.
A nursery once existed in the region of Great Oaks near the modern baths. It was located in an area once named Buttermead. During the Second World War, American troops played their version of football or baseball on the land now occupied by Kinson baths. Nearby, parts of the Common were used for Civil Defence purposes.
Pigs were reared and allotments were let by Lord Wimborne for 2s 6d per year on what is now the Glenmeadows housing development. In the recent past, Corn and barley was grown on Poole Lane Meadows and pigs were raised in an adjoining field. Horses have also been grazed on site.
Since the 1930`s, a great many other changes took place and the Borough of Bournemouth are now the outright owners of the Kinson Common, having been gifted or purchased tracts of land from the Canford Estate. Over a considerable time period, especially since the 1970`s, local residents have worked closely with the Borough`s Countryside division, to assist in the voluntary management of the site.
One interesting fact which has never been discused is the namimg of the area, the Kinson Common.
It is a popular name with residents even though the whole area was never registered as a common.