Common Land and Village Green register

How to search for common land and village greens in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

About the register

This authority is the Commons Registration authority for all land within the boundaries of London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.

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 and Wales. However, there are some lowland areas of common, particularly in the South East of England, that are important for recreational uses.

Currently, the general public has no rights to go onto common land unless the land is an urban common, or is crossed by public rights of way (and they follow the line of the right of way). However, the government's proposals (in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000) to permit public access to open countryside in the future will also include access to common land.

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 who are able to exercise the rights listed above are generally known as 'commoners'. Common land and rights are a very ancient institution - even older than Parliament itself. They are part of the fabric of life in England and Wales and have their origins in the manorial system.

Each area of common land or town or village green is listed in the Registers under a unique 'Unit Number'.

Each unit number in the register is divided in three sections showing details of:

  1. Land - This includes a description of the land, who registered it and when the registration became finally registered. There are also related plans, which show the boundaries of the land.
  2. Rights - This includes a description of the rights of common (in other words, the right to graze 100 sheep), over which area of the common they are exercisable, the name of the person (the 'commoner') who holds those rights, and whether the rights arise by virtue of a separate land ownership by the commoner (i.e. they 'attach' to land).
  3. Ownership - this includes details of owners of common land. However, entries in this section of the register are not held to be conclusive.

How to search

To search on land and property in respect of Common Land or Village Green (CLVG) please submit form CON29O, selecting question 22 and enclosing a fee of £13.00. (Please note there is no longer a specific CLVG search as the CR21 form was abolished 1 October 2007).

The Common Land and Village Green Register is held by the Local Land Charges department and is available for free inspection via appointment. Please call 020 8891 7774 or email landcharges@richmond.gov.uk.

Updated: 23 May 2016