Commons Network

There are over 200 registered commons in Herefordshire, many are small and fragmented, but together they make up an important network of culturally significant sites which are havens for wildlife and places of recreation for local communities. Many of these are at risk of being lost due to scrub encroachment, or devalued through overgrazing. By sharing information, lessons learnt, and best practice commons owners and managers can work together to ensure Herefordshire's common land is protected for generations to come. 


There are 7,000 commons in England, covering nearly 400,000 hectares. 

80% of common land is nationally or internationally designated for environmental reasons. Virtually all provides a right of access on foot. 

Useful Documents 

Foundation for Common Land - Commons Toolkit - 

The Foundation for Common Land produced this Toolkit in 2010. It provides practical guidance for people who manage commons, hold rights of common or who work with commoners in England.

There are 20 Fact Sheets and Guidance Notes covering the following:

  • Background - definitions and significance of common land
  • Origins and history of common land
  • Rights of common 
  • Registration of common land
  • Ownership of commons
  • Agricultural activity on commons
  • Sporting management on commons
  • Single Payment Scheme (SPS) on common land
  • Fencing and other works on common land
  • Governance and management of commons
  • Public access to common land
  • Updating the commons registers
  • Tracing ownership and managing commons with unknown ownership
  • Managing undergrazed commons
  • Negotiating management on common land
  • Agri-environment schemes on common land
  • Applying for consent to carry out works on common land
  • Choosing and establishing the appropriate management model for common land
  • Managing public access on common land
  • Managing livestock on commons with unfenced roads

 Full Commons Toolkit 

Other useful Factsheets from Natural England:

How to manage different habitats         Tackling today's management issues   

Grazing our common                          Liability, health and safety 


A Common Purpose - A guide to Community Engagement for those contemplating management on Common Land. Endorsed by Defra and the Open Spaces Society.


European Protected Species Guide - A useful guide for practical management on land with European Protected Species  


Grazing for wild plants and biodiversity 

Useful websites

Foundation for Common Land

Open Spaces Society

Works on common land - Government guidance -