Village Greens

Story-book images of village greens are the essence of rural England and Wales.
In reality they are very varied and in need of our protection.

Town and village greens are the essence of rural England and Wales.

Story-book images of village greens tend to be of an expanse of grass in the centre of a village complete with oak tree and seat, or a carefully-manicured recreation ground just outside the village, where cricket is played in the lengthening shadows of a summer evening, and the villagers dance round the maypole.

In fact, they are much more than that, and very varied.

Did you know?

The best way to protect your village/town green is to register it. Registering it gives it protection.

Don't take it for granted.

What is a village green?

A green is any land on which a significant number of inhabitants of any area has indulged in lawful sports and pastimes, for 20 years, as of right.

We believe there to be about 3650 registered greens in England and about 220 in Wales, covering about 8150 and 620 acres respectively.

Want to protect your village green?

Join the Open Spaces Society, and benefit from our expert advice. Here are some examples of cases where we have given guidance to individual, group and local authority members. Depending on where you live, you may also have a local Open Spaces Society correspondent (our name for volunteer) who may be able to help you.

Our latest posts about village greens

Pulling The Trigger On Village Greens

Cooper Estates Strategic Land Ltd v Wiltshire Council and Richard Gosnell and Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council. This is the first court case to pronounce on the meaning of ‘trigger events’ (as defined in section 15C of, and schedule 1A to, the Commons Act 2006) and has worrying implications. Such an event, which includes the…

We call for greater protection of green spaces in cities

We have welcomed the Welsh Conservative Party’s consultation paper Liveable Cities and its support for parks and green spaces and sustainable transport in cities. In responding, the society has made some new proposals. While it welcomes the paper’s recommendation that local authorities should be required to submit plans that highlight land which can be made…

Appeal court upholds village green registrations in Lancashire and Surrey

We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has upheld the registration of village greens at Moorside Fields in Lancaster and Leach Grove Wood at Leatherhead in Surrey.(1) The two cases were heard together and the court has dismissed an appeal from Lancashire County Council which, as the education authority, owns the 13-hectare Moorside Fields.…

New village green at Camrose in Pembrokeshire

The Lambston Parish Residents’ Association in Camrose community, Pembrokeshire, is celebrating the registration of an open space in Sutton as a village green. The one-acre site, just to the west of Haverfordwest, has been enjoyed by local people for informal recreation and social events for decades. Since the owner is not known, the Lambston residents…

Further resources about Village Greens

  • Protecting village greens

    Law guiding the protection of Village Greens

  • Getting Greens Registered

    We published a revised third edition of our book Getting Greens Registered in response to the major changes in legislation

  • Landowner statements: the threat to village greens (England)

    Now you must apply to register land as a green within one year of a landowner’s challenge to your use of the land for informal recreation.

  • Guidance on making a successful green application

    These guidance notes have kindly been prepared by The Friends of Coombe Wood, who successfully registered a green in 2013:

  • Recent registrations

    A list of successful green registrations

  • Public inquiry guidance

    Our Vice-president, Edgar Powell, has prepared guidance on preparing for and attending a public inquiry.

  • By-laws for village greens, commons and open spaces

    By-laws are rules made by a local authority or certain other public bodies under an enabling Act of Parliament, for the regulation, administration or management of a specific area.

  • Registration

    A quick guide to registration

  • Voluntary registration/dedication of land as a town or village green

    Dedicate land voluntarily as a town or village green by applying to have it included in the register of town or village greens. 

  • Beating the bounds of your green or common

    Parish and community councils and other local groups may like to beat the bounds of their local common or village green on Rogation Sunday.

  • Village green training course

    Our training course provides an introduction to village greens and why they are important, including relevant legislation...

  • Vehicular access across Common Land and Town or Village Greens

    This provides 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.

  • Prosecuting an offence on a village green

    If you wish to prosecute someone for a criminal offence on a town or village green...

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Village & Town Greens

    Common questions about village and town greens