The common borders the River Cam, houseboats are typically moored on the common's bank and many colleges' boathouses are located on the opposite bank.
Former names include Midsummer Green, Greencoft and Butts Green. The common is naturally grazed by a herd of bulls between April and October.
Much work has been done in recent years to restore the common to how it originally looked, with the planting of new trees of local providence. There has been the recent addition of a community orchard near the Newmarket Road entrance and wild seed planting to increase the biodiversity of the space.