Monday 10 June 2013
Visitors helped the hovellers build a makeshift home on the common by bashing chalk for the floor and enthusiastically daubing the wattle walls. They crafted willow hurdles, lace, candles, bodged broomstick handles and made bread over an open fire. They auctioned off their family as milkmaids, farm labourers and farriers at the hiring fair, watched sheepdog demonstrations, listened to the wandering minstrel and storytellers and pelted their family with wet sponges in the stocks.
"Literally a breath of fresh air and a world away from the manufactured, overly commercialised theme parks. I cannot recommend this event and the Chiltern Open Air Museum enough," said one visitor on Facebook.
The Chilterns Commons Project is well into the second year of the four-year programme and is making a big difference to how commons are viewed in the Chilterns. Local people are beginning to understand that commons are a vital part of our natural and cultural heritage and that we can all play a more active role in cherishing and conserving them.
Hundreds of people have contributed their time and effort to the Chilterns Commons Project, carrying out practical works such as improving access, surveying butterflies and plants, restoring ponds and unearthing hidden archaeology. A popular programme of training workshops is equipping local people with the skills to manage their local common in years to come.
There are more than 200 commons in the Chilterns. Visit chilternsaonb.org/commons for information and a map.