Common land and village greens registers

Information about the land registered in our area and how we maintain the land registers.

Common land and village greens registers are our responsibility in North Yorkshire.

The register includes a description and map of the land, details of ownership and any rights of common that apply to the land.

Current registers may be out of date, as historically the law did not require them to be kept up to date. Recently passed laws have made it a requirement to keep accurate registers, and in the coming years all registers will be updated.

Common land

Common land is usually owned by an individual(s) but with the understanding that other people may have traditional rights to access it, for example, to graze animals, shoot, fish, or take stones and wood.

Village greens

Town and village greens are established where long-term use of land by local people for recreational purposes can be demonstrated, such as for informal sports, picnics, fetes or dog walking. They are usually owned and maintained by town and parish councils, although can be privately owned.

Rights to access village greens are typically reserved for local residents; this contrasts with common land where there is a general right of access.

There is no distinction in law between a town green and a village green.

New law for common land and village greens

The Commons Act 2006 is a new law that aims to update and correct the registers. It came into force for North Yorkshire in December 2014.

There is a transitional period of three years during which interested parties can apply to amend the registers. This period ends on 14 December 2017. Anyone wishing to submit an application after this date should contact us by email at commons.registration@northyorks.gov.uk or by calling 01609 780780.

Applications that can be made include:

  • correcting a mistake in the registers;
  • creating and ending rights of common; and
  • registering or unregistering (where wrongly registered) land.

Applications and fees

You can learn about the process to register land or change registrations, see the associated fees and find answers to frequently asked questions here.

Contact us

For more information and queries about common land and village greens, please contact us by email at commons.registration@northyorks.gov.uk or by calling 01609 780780.

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