Our Common Land

An Open Spaces Society publication

The seventh edition of Our Common Land by Paul Clayden has been revised and updated to include the many changes in the law which have taken place since the previous edition in 2006.

These include the bringing into force of part 1 of the Commons Act 2006, and the divergence of the law in England and Wales. This book takes account of the most recent court cases, and policy guidance on common land issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Welsh government.

There is also a substantial section dealing with town and village greens, which complements the society’s manual, Getting Greens Registered.

The book puts the law into practice. It is of value to local authorities, landowners, common right-holders, and the public.

Contents

  1. An introduction to common land and rights of common
  2. Commons registration
  3. Common land—the rights of the parties
  4. Management and control of common land
  5. Statutory protection of common land
  6. Town and village greens

Appendix 1: Commons regulated under the Commons Act 1987

Appendix 2: Bibliography

Total 164 pages

Further resources about Commons

  • Commons Act 2006 - Registration and deregistration

    This fact sheet tells you about the registration and deregistration of common land and town or village greens, in England and Wales, under Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006. .

  • Protecting commons, greens and open spaces training course

    Learn the fundamentals on this comprehensive course to include definitions, registration/designation, protection and management.

  • How to take action against unlawful encroachments and works

    This fact sheet tells you how to protect your common from unlawful encroachments and works in England.

  • Vehicular access across Common Land and Town or Village Greens

    This provides Defra guidance about vehicular access across common land and town or village greens following the repeal of section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

  • A charter for Wales's open spaces

    Read our August 2020 charter for the promotion and protection of open spaces so that everyone in Wales can benefit.

  • A Common Purpose Guide

    Download the Foundation for Common Land guidance on how to engage with local communities for those contemplating management on common land.

  • An approach to the re-registration of commons

    Our commons re-registration officer Dr Frances Kerner shares our approach to research and application preparation

  • Registered common land and highways

    Registered common land may also be part of a public highway, and evidence that land is registered common land or part of a highway is of little or no value in demonstrating that the land is not the other.

  • The origins of sections 193 and 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925

    A comprehensive paper from Open Spaces Society Trustee Bernard Selwyn

  • A charter for England's open spaces

    Read our August 2020 charter for the promotion and protection of open spaces so that everyone in England can benefit.

  • A commons’ conference companion

    The Countryside and Community Research Institute of Gloucester University (CCRI) has published a Commons e-book

  • DIY guide to registering lost commons

    The Commons Act 2006 provides a new, time-limited, opportunity for you to rescue some of those commons which failed to be registered under the Commons

  • Buildings, fences and other works on common land in England and Wales

    A practical guide for those wishing to carry out a lawful operation on a common and those wanting to defend a common against unlawful or undesirable operations.

  • Commons Act 2006 Part 1 Implementation

    A pioneer implementation of Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 commenced in seven registration authorities in England on 1 October 2008.

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Commons

    Frequently asked questions about commons

  • Preventing vehicular access to common land or town and village greens (dragon's teeth)

    How to prevent vehicular access to common land, town or village greens using dragon's teeth.

  • Unclaimed land and adverse possession

    Unclaimed land and adverse possession: protecting commons and other open spaces with no known owner

  • Finding common ground

    Integrating local and national interests on commons: guidance for assessing the community value of common land

Our latest posts about commons

How to use MAGIC

Do you want to know about the location of sites of special scientific interest, the distance between two places on a road or footpath, registered common land boundaries or to measure the area of a plot of land – we could go on? But the answer is almost certainly to be found in MAGIC. MAGIC…
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Our stand against the grandstand

We save common land at Richmond Low Moor, North Yorkshire We have welcomed a court order setting aside the removal of common land from Richmond Low Moor following the society’s legal action. On 21 June 2021, North Yorkshire County Council granted an application by the Richmond Burgage Pastures Committee to deregister common land at the…
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A step up for England’s protected landscapes

The government has, at last, announced its response to the Landscapes Review in England.  The review, led by journalist Julian Glover, was published in September 2019, more than two years ago, and made ambitious recommendations for the future of our national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. In his foreword to the response Defra…
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Dunsfold Common, Surrey. The threatened land is to the left of the road. Photo: Google streetview

Developer takes a wrong turn on Dunsfold Common, Surrey

We have welcomed the decision of an inspector to refuse permission for an access road across Dunsfold Common, six miles south-east of Godalming in Surrey. In her decision letter, inspector Helen O’Connor LLB MA MRTPI, appointed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has rejected an application by Kitewood Investment Ltd…
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