The common covers 100 acres and is divided into two by an east-west sandstone escarpment. The south facing slope, below the escarpment, is littered with boulders and is heavily wooded. The northern slope contains areas of heather, oak, silver birch, bracken, and grassland.
The common gets its name from the larger feudal common lands that existed around the villages of Wadsley and Loxley. A parliamentary enclosure act placed the land in private ownership in 1784. For the next 150 years mines and quarries exploited its mineral resources (coal, gannister, and building stone). Eventually, the land was given to the City of Sheffield for the recreational use of its citizens. To learn more of the history of the common go to history.
The diversity of habitat provides a home for a wide variety of wild flowers and attracts many species of animal and bird; these are more fully described at nature.
The future of the common is uncertain. Hundreds of years as a feudal common and its industrial period left the soil impoverished, which is ideal for heathland. Over the last hundred years, the soil fertility has increased; encouraging an invasion by forest species and bracken. To assist in achieving a balance between heath, forest, and increasing recreational pressure; a management plan has been drawn up. To learn more go to management.
Many footpaths cross the common. Most are rough and narrow but some are easy-going trails and there are some bridle ways. The easy-going trails are approached from the Long Lane entrance at the western end of the common.