Common land reclaimed at Zennor, Cornwall

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Carn Galva Common, west of Zennor in west Cornwall, has been reclaimed as registered common land, using legislation which is being pioneered in Cornwall (part 1 of the Commons Act 2006).

Following a public inquiry last month, planning inspector Mrs Helen Slade ruled that the land should be recorded on the commons register.

Carn Galva Common covers approximately 70 hectares. The land is open heather moorland. It is owned by the National Trust and was recorded as access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, giving the public the right to walk over it.

Carn Galva

The applicant, Mr Ian McNeil Cooke on behalf of Save Penwith Moors, argued that the land was part of a manor. It was still open, uncultivated and unoccupied. Therefore it complied with the criteria to enable it to be registered as common land.

The National Trust supported the application, as did the Open Spaces Society, Ramblers Penwith/Kerrier Group and British Horse Society. There were three objectors but none of them appeared at the inquiry. Their objections related to the management of the land for grazing and were held not to be relevant.

Says David Coles of Save Penwith Moors, which campaigns to keep commons open and free: ‘We are delighted to have returned this land to the commons register, from which it was wrongly omitted 40 years ago. This will ensure that the public’s rights to use and enjoy it are safeguarded for all time, and that the land has additional protection from development, since any works here will need the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, in addition to any planning permission.’

The society urges everyone with an interest in common land to follow the excellent example of Save Penwith Moors. They should research whether there is land in Cornwall and the other pioneer areas which was wrongly omitted from registration 40 years ago, and which is eligible for registration now. We can help with the process.

The society, with the Foundation for Common Land and many other organisations, is pressing Defra to implement part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 throughout England so that all the registers can be corrected.

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