Common Land and Village Greens
Common Land and Village Greens Approximately 8.4% of Wales is covered by registered common land amounting to around 175,000 hectares. The main features of such land are that it is generally open, unfenced and remote - particularly in the upland areas of England and Wales.
There is no single definition of common land. It is defined differently under various statutes. However, the general meaning is land over which there are rights of common. Rights of common are rights (usually of an agriculture nature) exercised by persons who have no ownership in the soil.
Common land covers some 5653 ha of Pembrokeshire or 3.5% of the land area (including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park). There are 249 commons, of which 113 are less than one hectare in size. The largest, Mynydd Preseli is 2132ha. Seventeen percent of the total numbers of commons in Wales fall within Pembrokeshire. There are 42 Village Greens covering an area of some 52ha.
Management of Common Land
Many commons are still important for agriculture and serve the economic interest of farming communities. At present there is a lack of effective mechanisms for managing agricultural activity, in particular grazing, on commons. This can sometimes lead to severe over-grazing and consequent damage to the soil, vegetation and biodiversity.
Town or Village Greens
Village greens are usually areas of land within a defined locality over which the local inhabitants can indulge in local sports and pastimes. Whilst village greens may be privately owned, many greens are owned and maintained by community councils.
Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 came into force in Wales on 6 September 2007. Any person can now apply to have land registered as a green if it has been used by local people for recreation 'as of right' (i.e. without permission, force or secrecy) for at least 20 years.
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