Gayles Common

The common renovation was instigated and developed by the Quarry Hill Common Committee. The initial supervision of this project to maturity has now completed.
Maintenance of this village asset will be continued by volunteers old and new. A WhatsApp will be set up and care of the common will be restarted in the spring. In the meantime, gully clearing continues to keep West Street from being renamed West Beck! (See the blue dashed line on the aerial photo below).

The tree house in the large tree by the beck is being renewed. Perhaps this is the 3rd incarnation. Watch this space for news

The history of this project has been collated and uploaded to this site. A list of past volunteers and their place in the history will follow.  If you have a story, please get in touch.

Where to roam

The paths are strimmed but may have nettles at the edge so watch out with bare legs. The paths and the football pitch are marked in light green. The huts are brown and the beck is blue (dry for most of the year)

It was formed out of an old limestone quarry on the hillside leading up to Fendom Ranges. This quarry was on the west edge of Gayles. There are the remains of a sandstone quarry to the east of the village.

View over Holmedale

Activities – tyre swing and bar swing
New bench on the common
bridge over the beck

wire cages to prevent logs blocking the underground beck
The stream does run when it rains heavily

Mowing The Common

  • Keep the mower on the highest cut setting – the ground is uneven and not like your lawn 1. Trying to cut lower will also strain the motor
  • Please check that the bolts are tight and the blade is clear before use – DO NOT tip the mower on its side – this causes oil to leak into the filter and will damage the engine (tip backwards)
  • Check oil and fuel levels
  • The mower is currently in collect mode until we can get a pattern of cutting in when the insert can change it to mulch – the clippings can be placed around the base of the trees especially the saplings
  • Please try not to let the fuel run dry — damage can occur and it makes it harder to start next time

Starting – press the red button 3 x then pull top handle in and pull cord

Strimmer is a little more work to start
Press and hold trigger whilst switching to start release
Press the plastic bubble until you see fuel moving in clear pipe
White lever to top then pull the cord – adjust lever as motor warms
Once started allow to tick over for a while before trying to cut
As with mower try not to run dry for same reason

When cutting please to DO NOT pull and push. The unit should hang off the harness and be swung to and fro. Longer bits take down in sections.
Strim the paths only2.

Eye and ear protection are vital3.


Both machines are 4 stroke so use unleaded petrol. If you empty the canister please either fill and claim a refund with receipt from Zoe at Holme Forge or let me know and I’ll organise

Mags Cran

Burning rubbish

This activity has now ceased. A licence to burn rubbish is required on common land and as no such licence has been granted (or indeed sought), this activity has now ceased


This has also ceased.

The rationale behind communal composting has been diminished by almost universal take up of the green composing bin provided by the council (fee payable for the service). The work in sorting this out has also eaten into time available for general upkeep of the common.

The History – or how it was done

Northern Echo 24/01/2008
Darliington & Stockton Times Dec 2011
Teesdale Mercury Dec 2011


The common before all the hard work

Quarry Hill 

  1. The plan is to  access the common via a series of paths (a path is created where we walk). We do not want to convert the common into a billiard smooth sculpted garden. Please only control grass and weeds on the current paths and picnic/play areas (overhanging nettles and thistles are however, fair game) ↩︎
  2. We have a wide range of wildlife in the village that uses overgrown areas for nesting … hedgehogs, mice, birds and great crested newts. I’ve even seen a hare so potentially leverets as well. ↩︎
  3. You know it makes sense ↩︎