Common Land and Town and Village Greens
There are 28,188 acres (11,407 hectares) of common land in Ceredigion. Common land is usually less cultivated than the surrounding farmland and forms an important resource for nature conservation, recreation and agriculture.
Common land is characterised by the following habitat types:
- Unimproved dry acidic grassland
- Semi-improved acidic grassland
- Acidic marshy grassland
- Blanket bog
- Heath land
- Improved grassland
Rights of Common
Common land is usually privately owned land that is subject to rights of common that originate from the manorial land tenure system, which predate Parliament. A right of common can be defined as the right for someone to use the product of another man's land in common with the owner of the soil. Rights holders are often referred to as Commoners or Graziers.
Rights of common typically include:
- Grazing sheep, cattle and/or ponies (pasture)
- Cut and/or control bracken (estovers)
- Gather wood (estovers)
- Peat/turf (turbary)
- Fish (piscary)
- Pigs (pannage)
The day to day agricultural management of common land is usually discussed and agreed by a Commoners' or Graziers' Association where they exist.
Public Access to Registered Common Land
Within Ceredigion there are 120 registered units of Common Land with ownership varying from the Crown Estate, Private Landowners, Town and Community Councils, and also some 39 commons with no known owners, in the latter situation these commons have been given protection under Section 9 of the Commons Act 1965. This section of the Act provides that any Local Authority in whose area such an ownerless common is situated may take such steps against unlawful interference as an owner in possession of the land could take.
In May 2005, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 extended a public right of access on foot to all finally registered common land. For the most up-to-date information and maps showing where you can go and what you can do on access land, including details of any local restriction and closures, visit the access pages on the Countryside Council for Wales website.
Town or Village Greens
Town or Village Green is usually an area of land within a defined settlement that is used by the local inhabitants for the exercise of lawful sports and pastimes. These activities may include organised or informal games, picnics and village fetes. Some greens may also have rights of common over them.
There are 18 town or village greens in Ceredigion. They were registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965, which made it possible to register three categories of land as town or village green:
- Land allotted under an Act of Parliament for 'exercise and recreation'
- Land with a customary right for the inhabitants to indulge in lawful sports or pastimes
- Land used by the inhabitants for sports and pastimes 'as of right' for 'not less than twenty years'
Commons Searches and Amendments to the Register
Go to the Commons Registration Page for information about the following:
- The Official Registers
- A Commons Registration Search
- Obtaining copies of an entry in the register
- Amendments to the Register
- Registering a 'new' town or village green