Located on the northern edge of Christchurch
Located on the northern edge of Christchurch town common is composed of 173 hectares of wet and dry heath, scrub and woodland. St Catherine's hill contains a former quarry site, archaeological sites and Bronze Age tumuli. The Herpetological Conservation Trust (HCT) and Christchurch Borough Council (CBC) manage the site. A bridleway running along the top of St. Catherine's Hill divides the two areas.
The Christchurch side (west of the bridleway) belongs to CBC and has patches of heath, but much of the area is a coniferous plantation with problem rhododendron. The management plan for the site is to recreate heathland.
The Christchurch side also houses two large concrete water reservoirs, a gun club and telecommunications mast. The HCT side has large continuous areas of heath with numerous small bogs and ponds. Town Common is notable for its reptile populations and is important for smooth snake and sand lizard populations.
Leased to and managed by the HCT from the main north/south bridleway, eastwards across the valley to the boundary farmland on the Avon flood plain, Town Common is privately owned by Lord Fitzharris of the Malmesbury Estate.
CBC owns and manages land west of the bridleway down to Christchurch private residences. This area (approx. 35 ha) is managed by Christchurch Borough Councils countryside service and includes St. Catherine's Hill.
The wildfowl pond is leased and managed independently by Hampshire Wildfowlers.
Dudmoor lane, the old Avon railway line is now a private lane running from the junction with Marsh Lane to the Avon Causeway. It provides good access onto the HCT managed lower area of heath.