Common land is land (usually in private ownership) that has rights of common over it. All common land has an owner. The term 'common' refers to the rights held in common by certain people ('commoners') to use the product of the soil by grazing, cutting turf etc. Generally common land is open, unfenced and remote. At present the general public do not have rights to go onto common land unless a right of way crosses it.
Rights of Common can include:
- grazing sheep or cattle (herbage)
- taking peat or turf (turbary)
- taking wood, gorse or furze (estovers)
- taking of fish (piscary)
- eating of acorns or beechmast by pigs (pannage)
The people able to exercise these rights are usually known as 'commoners'.
Each local authority, as a Commons Registration Authority, has the duty to maintain a Register of Common Land and Village Greens. This is a statutory document which can be inspected by appointment and is used for Common Land Searches, usually when property is bought or sold. For more information about the Register of Common Land and Village Greens see here.
West Yorkshire Registers of Common Lands and Village Greens can be found in the following local authority departments:
- Bradford City Council Department of Asset Management - tel: 01274 434815
- Calderdale Council Local Land Charges Unit - tel: 01422 393053
- Kirklees Council Local Land Charges Department - tel: 01484 416655
- Leeds City Council Planning Department - tel: 0113 247 4385
- Wakefield Metropolitan District Council Local Land Charges Team - tel: 01924 305260