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Common land and village greens

What is common land?

Common land is land, usually in private ownership, that has rights of common over it. It is generally open, unfenced and remote. The Countryside and Public Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 gives the public a right of access on foot to certain areas of 'access land' which includes registered common land.

Rights of common can include:

  • grazing sheep or cattle (herbage)
  • taking peat or turf (turbary)
  • taking wood, gorse or furze (estovers)
  • taking of fish (piscary)
  • eating of acorns or beechmast by pigs (pannage)

The people who are able to exercise the rights listed above are generally known as 'commoners'.

What is a village green?

Village greens are usually areas of land within defined settlements or geographical areas which local inhabitants can go onto for the exercise of lawful sports and pastimes. These include organised or ad-hoc games, picnics, fetes and other similar activities. Whilst land forming town or village greens may be privately owned, many greens are owned and maintained by local Parish or Community Councils. Some greens may also have rights of common (i.e. grazing of livestock) over them.

Procedure: Town and village green applications

Current pending applications in Gloucestershire

  • Charlea Allotments, Brimscombe, Stroud
  • The Green Woodview Rd Dursley

You can also view a list of Commons Commissioners decisions for Gloucestershire since the 1970's.

What are the registers?

The registers are statutory documents which accompany the official maps showing all registered land in our area:

  • Land - a description of the land, who registered it and when the registration became finally registered. There are also related plans which show the boundaries of the land
  • Rights - a description of the rights of common (i.e. the right to graze 100 sheep), over which area of the common they are exercisable, the name of the person (the 'commoner') who holds those rights, and whether the rights arise by virtue of a separate land ownership by the commoner (i.e. they 'attach' to land)
  • Ownership - details of owners of common land. However, entries in this section of the registers are not held to be conclusive

Request a copy of the Commons or Town and Village Green register and map online

To obtain a copy please complete the online form

All Common Land and Village Greens have a unit number e.g. CL12 or VG12, this will enable us to easily identify the piece of land you are interested in. Please use the link below to identify any Common Land or Village Green locations:

The commons/village green maps and registers are available to view, free of charge.


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