Missing piece of Hudnall Common is restored

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We are delighted by the decision of Hertfordshire County Council, the commons registration authority, to grant our application to register as common land just under four hectares adjoining the northern boundary of Hudnall Common, Hertfordshire. The land, which is one mile east of Little Gaddesden, comprises trees, ferns and bushy undergrowth and was formerly part of the common but was severed from it when parts of the Ashridge estate were sold in the 1920s.

Photo of the land looking east. Photo: Frances Kerner, Open Spaces Society

In 1967, all Hudnall Common was provisionally registered as common land but, following an objection, part of the land was excluded. The remaining and principal part of the common (just under 47 hectares) had been bought by the society with funds raised in the 1930s and transferred to the ownership of the National Trust in 1937; only the National Trust land became finally registered as common.

However, the Commons Act 2006 reopened the opportunity to rescue lost commons. Under paragraph 4 of schedule 2 to the Commons Act 2006 the excluded land became eligible for re-registration. The application, made by the society, to register the land provided evidence that the excluded land is waste land of a manor, which means that it can be registered as common land.

Says Frances Kerner, our commons re-registration officer: ‘The society campaigned to save the Hudnall Common well over 80 years ago.  In 1936, alarmed by the threat of development of the common, the Commons Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society (now the Open Spaces Society), raised money to buy the land. This secured the common’s future and shortly afterwards most of the common was transferred to the care of the National Trust.

‘I am delighted that, after all these years, the society has been able to reunite the excluded land with the rest of the common.  The land has been added to the register of common land and the public will soon have the right to walk there.’

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