Common Land Search

Article Summary

This article explains what Common Land is, how to find the owners of it, and what Rights the Commoners have over the Common Land.

What is Common Land?

All land in England and Wales is owned by a person or organisation and this holds true, also, for common land, despite the general belief that Common Land is owned by the citizens of the country at large. The important aspect of Common Land relates not so much to ownership, but to those who have rights over the Common Land, and the nature of those rights.

Ownership of Common Land

Common land outline plotted on advanced map

Large areas of common land may have many different owners. To obtain ownership details you should use our Advanced Map search so that we can obtain a copy of the title registers and title plans for you. Above is a copy of a map search identifying common land to be searched for.

Common Land Legislation

The Commons Act 2005 is the statute that regulates Common Land registration. Most Common Land is now access land, which is regulated by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW).

Who are the Commoners exercising Rights over Common Land?

A register is kept by Commons Registration Authorities and provides a description of the Common Land, describes the rights that commoners have over it and also provides ownership details, where that is known.

Commoners' Rights

The same rights do not attach to all common land, but will vary according to the rights granted to them.

Typical Commoners' rights include:

  • Pasture - for horses, sheep, goats, and the like
  • Pannage - This is the right to allow pigs to feed off acorns and beechmast
  • Piscary - Piscary is the right to fish
  • Turbary - The right to take peat or turf to use as fuel
  • Estovers - The right to take wood for certain purposes
  • Stray - The right to allow cattle onto Common Land
  • Soil - The right to remove minerals or soil
  • Animals - The right to take wild animals

The cost for a Common Land Search is £79.95. The search will provide you with a copy of the Title Register and Title Plan belonging to the Common Land owners, a copy of the Registration Authority Map, a CRoW map centred on the property, a Commoners Rights report and a Land Ownership Information guidebook.

The search is made by completing a form that has a map utility embedded into it. This is used in order to identify the land to us. The map utility allows you to trace the approximate outline of the land.

Common Land Search

Common Land Search

Common Land is land that people other than the owner have certain rights upon. It is land that has never been built upon or land that may once have belonged to a Lord of the manor.


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Title Register

The Land Registry Title Register holds data relating to the property ownership, purchase price, mortgage, tenure, covenants, rights of way, leases and class of title.


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Title Plan

The Title Plan shows an outline of the property and its immediate neighbourhood, and uses colours to identify rights of way, general boundaries and land affected by covenants.


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