Common ground: Who does Goonhilly belong to?

Thanks to Martin Wright at Cornwall Council’s Commons and Greens office for supplying this map, which shows the areas on Goonhilly apportioned as common land. The most of these areas have been cancelled since the publication of this map and now only CL442, where Goonhilly Village Green will manifest, remains. Details of these cancellations can be found on the Association of Commons Registration Authorities website: (click on Cornwall in ‘Commissioners Decisions’).

The rights of the commoner are manifold. A useful description can be found in ‘England in Particular’ by Sue Clifford and Angela King (Hodder, 2006).”The name [common] describes not the land but the rights over it…For centuries, commons have been the areas of land over which the specific rights of local people have persisted over someone else’s ‘soil’….the most widespread [of rights] are to estovers (pollarded branches, underwood for fencing, bracken and gorse for bedding); housebote (bigger timbers for repair of building); pannage (running pigs under woodland to take fallen acorns and beechmast; pasture (stock grazing); piscary (fishing); turbary (peat digging for fuel); and the right of common in the soil (sand gravel and stone). They are matched by vigourous rules, such as the stinting or regulation of stock numbers or grazing hours, set by the commoners or court leet. The landholder usually retains rights of minerals and shooting and may or may not share some of the common rights…It is only since the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 came into force that the right to walk on common land as been open to all”.

More on commons at the Open Spaces Society

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