Modern map

Leiston Common and surroundings 2006

Leiston Common Enclosure Award, 1824

Leiston Common and Sizewell 1842 Tithe Map (Chadwick,1982)

In the late 1930s, Lee Chadwick and her husband, naturalist and artist Paxton Chadwick, made their studio home on Leiston Common. This piece of relic heath, and the study area established beside their house (see map below, enabled them to make observations, recordings and experiments of many aspects of heathland ecology. The work was summarised in Lee Chadwick’s book ‘In Search of Heathlands’. As well as descriptions of the typical flowering plants, mosses, lichen and fungi, there are records and accounts of the insect and mammal populations of lowland heaths, including heathland species of bees and wasps, grasshoppers and allied insects, butterflies and moths, small mammals and reptiles. The various roles of soil, climate and certain biotic factors, such as the presence of the rabbit, in determining the pattern of the heath and the interrelation of its plant and animal communities is examined. All this is described with the immediacy of facts observed in everyday life.

In her book, the author emphasises the relationship throughout the ages of people with heathland, in work and recreation. She looks at the origins of heathland and its connection with neolithic farming practices, at heath dwellers in literature and life, at shepherds and sheepwalks, at famous travellers to the Sandling heaths, at types of commons and their management, at the history of struggle for common rights in the face of enclosure of heaths and commonland, and at heaths as meeting places and for social gatherings.

Chadwick, L. (1982) In Search of Heathland, Dobson.

Leiston Common: changes in vegetation (Chadwick, 1982)