Commons Registration - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Common Land?

Common Land is land, usually in private ownership, that has rights of common over it. The main features of common land are that it is generally open, unfenced and remote, particularly in the upland areas of England. There are, however, some lowland areas of common that are particularly important for recreational use. There are over 278,863 acres of common land in Cumbria, which is the largest total of any county in England. In all, 30% of England's common land is situated in Cumbria. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 allows the public access on foot to registered common land and open countryside, which has been defined by the Countryside Agency as mountain, moor, heath and down. The Countryside Agency has published maps which show the land to which the public have access. For the most up to date information and link for map of access land, refer to the Countryside Agency website

What is Town or Village Green?

Village Greens are usually areas of land within defined settlements or geographical areas which are used for exercise and lawful sports and pastimes by local inhabitants within a locality. Land forming Town or Village Greens may be privately owned, though many greens are owned and maintained by local Parish or Community Councils. Some greens may also have rights of common, such as grazing rights, over them.

What right of access do the public have on Common Land or Town or Village Green?

In Cumbria, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 introduced a public right of access on foot over registered Common Land and open countryside, defined by the Countryside Agency as mountain, moor, heath and down. Unlike Common Land, Town or Village Greens are not included in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The inhabitants of a particular locality, or neighbourhood within a locality, may have a right to engage in lawful sports and pastimes, but it is not possible to be specific as to who is or is not an inhabitant of a locality or neighbourhood within a locality, and what sports and pastimes may be played.


Can Common Land be developed, or works such as fencing carried out?

Works on Common Land are prohibited under Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006. Consent is required for works