The land was formerly part of the estate of Holwood House, and in the early nineteenth century three ponds were constructed to provide water to the house. It is only two miles from Charles Darwin's home, Down House, and he often visited to study the plants and animals there. It helped to provide the materials for his works on earthworms and carnivorous plants. 'Darwin's Landscape Laboratory', which included Keston Common, was the British Government's 2009 nominee for a World Heritage Site, but the application was unsuccessful. In 1926 the then owner of the common, Lord Stanley, donated it to the parish.