Flanked on one side by the River Cam with its many Cambridge University college boathouses, Midsummer Common is an ancient area of grassland that thrusts into the heart of Cambridge City. For many centuries fairs and other events have been staged on the Common and this tradition continues today. At other times cattle graze the land bringing the country into the City. Friends of Midsummer Common (FoMC) is a group of Cambridge people who are concerned with the good management and responsible use of this ancient grassland. Our mission is to make it a place for everyone to enjoy.
FoMC welcomes new members from any part of Cambridge.
|Join us!||Follow @FoMCCambridge|
For the first time, FoMC will have a small stall at the Strawberry Fair. It will be located in the children's area, and manned between 12 noon and 5 pm. There will be opportunities for children to make simple environmentally-friendly insect nests to hang in the garden, and we will be giving out information and some of our new FoMC badges. Do join us! Full details about Strawberry Fair can be found here. Residents' hotline number for any problems on the day: 07580 104546.
The cow parsley and tree blossom has been wonderful in the orchard this year. Do take a look before it is too late. The orchard will be cut once the wild flowers have died down and had an opportunity to set seed.
One of the delights of summer is to see the swifts arriving back and wheeling around the Common. Unfortunately, as we heard at the AGM, numbers of these lovely birds are declining around Cambridge, because of a gradual reduction in the number of suitable nesting places as more buildings are modernized. Help is at hand, however, in the form of nesting boxes, which can easily be installed. If you would like to help, visit the Swift Conservation website or the Action for Swifts blog.
The FoMC AGM took place at 7:30pm on Wednesday 20 March 2013, at Christ Church, Newmarket Road. The minutes (including the Chair's annual report) are available here.
8–9 December. The weather was kind to us and we gathered on a sunny, fine morning to plant an avenue of 12 dessert cherry trees and one medlar tree in the orchard. They are now secured with strong stakes, and hopefully we can all enjoy the fruit before too long, if the birds do not get there first. Many thanks to all members who helped with the planting, and to those who generously contributed to the cost of the trees.
Thanks to all who came to the Orchard Picnic on Sunday 2 September and helped make it such an enjoyable occasion. This is the third year running we've held an informal get-together to celebrate the apple harvest.
Many thanks to all those who turned up on Sunday to help clear the nettles and thistles from all the new trees on the Common. They all look very healthy. Let's hope this will encourage the Council to cut the grass!
Jacky Minchella emailed us saying:
Last year as I was walking the dog on the common I had a whiff of a beautiful fragrance, I looked around expecting someone to come past either walking or biking but there was no one in sight … as I drew closer to the tress along the causeway side of the common the fragrance grew stronger, I soon realised that it was actually the trees that smelt! Who knew trees could smell so wonderful?! Not me it seems. Anyway I went to the web site and found that you have a map of the trees and the wonderful fragrance was indeed coming from the Silver Pendent Limes.
Last night I was walking on the common and again the same smell drifted over. Their flowers smell so beautiful and it fills the air at this time of year. So thank you for the website and useful tree map, it helped educate me and good luck with the new planting, I notice there are more Limes and Black Poplars.
A big thank you to everyone who came along to the Big Bug Hunt on July 1! We do hope that you enjoyed yourselves, despite the cold and wind – at least it did not rain. Our entomologist, Robert Day, was delighted with the diversity of insects that were discovered on the Common, and he is now in the process of analysing what was collected. In due course we will post his report on the website.
As it was so very wet, FoMC was concerned that the grass on the Common would suffer serious damage from the May Fair. However, thanks to everyone being careful the Common survived remarkably well. This year, those setting-up the Beer Festival were forbidden from running their supplies up Midsummer Common as this has caused damage in previous years. That too has helped.
FoMC was recently involved in a meeting with councillors and officers to discuss improvements to the Newmarket Road entrance to the Community Orchard and Common. The proposal retains the feature tree and the area will be tidied and replanted. A dropped curb and new gates (vehicle and disabled) will be installed, west of the tree, further back from the road with Cambridge-style post and rails. (Allotments holders will be able to use this vehicular access by borrowing the key from the Council offices). All this will take time as planning and other permissions need to be obtained. We have asked for a simple FoMC notice for the Community Orchard and Common.
After a bit of nagging, the graffiti has been removed from the Cutter Ferry Bridge and the retaining wall by Brunswick Cottages is being repaired.
|Only authorised vehicles are allowed to drive and park on Midsummer Common. Permission has been given for vehicles to service the Fort St George pub and Midsummer House restaurant but this is too often abused with unauthorised vehicles driving and parking on the Common. The public complains about this visual intrusion and damage done to the grassland. The Council recently installed an automatic gate to control access to the Common and it now seems to be working well. Councillors met in January and decided to go further by installing new traffic signs and introducing enforcement procedures against offenders. It will, however, take some time to sort out the legalities of any entitlement to parking.|
|Many of the wooden benches on the Common were in a bad state of repair; weather and vandals had taken their toll over the years. The Council recently took a number of these away for a comprehensive refurbishment. They are now back looking a lot better and more comfortable to sit on. Well done!|
|Those crossing the eastern end of the Common can see building work taking place on the old Regional College site. The vista is changing fast as large residential blocks appear on the scene. This will not be to everyone's liking but FoMC is talking to the Council and Berkeley Homes in order to protect certain features in the area. And the end result, which will be called Cambridge Riverside, could be quite pleasing. A sales office has been opened on the Newmarket Road and the first residents have arrived.|
The Cambridge City StreetScene Team is responsible for a wide range of services on the Common including litter picking, grass cutting, graffiti removal and toilet cleaning. The Council's Enforcement Team can deal with problems of illegal camping or fires on the Common. Trees are the responsibility of the Arboricultural Team. They can all be contacted through the Council's Customer Service Centre on 01223 457000 (or 457457 out of office hours). It is an offence for anyone to drop litter or allow their dog to foul the Common – bins are provided for the disposal of litter and dog mess. Any problems with dogs should be referred to the Dog Warden on 01223 457898. Please call the Pinder on 07855 376652 if cattle escape from the Common or fall in the river.