One of the most recognisable features of the common is the sand pits. It is roughly in the centre of the common. The sand there has been used for houses in the nearby area. The pits have been used by H.G. Wells as the site of the first Martian landing in his novel The War of the Worlds, the Martains emerge from their craft and fire the Heat-Ray at the bystanders. The sand pits have since become a site of pilgrimage for many science fiction fans.