Commoners’ Rights

Greenham and Crookham Commons exist as common land, and commoner’s rights on them exist, only because they were registered under the Commons Registration Act of 1965.

The registration authority was Berkshire County Council. Landowners and other parties (e.g. commoners) could submit areas of land to be registered as common land and could submit rights (e.g. to take turf or graze certain animals) to be registered as rights of common. Those claiming rights had to submit a map showing the property which they owned or occupied and to which rights were attached. Any historic rights which were not registered under that Act no longer exist.

Our commons were registered as several distinct common land units.

  • CL10: Part of Greenham Common not owned by the MOD. Registered by the Borough of Newbury.
  • CL13: Part of Greenham Common not owned by the MOD. Registered by the Borough of Newbury.
  • CL14: Part of Greenham Common not owned by the MOD. Registered by the Borough of Newbury.
  • CL55: The part of Greenham Common then owned by the Ministry of Defence. CL55 was registered by the Crookham and Greenham Commons Association (CGCA), a body set up specifically to represent the commoners and to facilitate registration under the 1965 Act. Registered on 5 February 1968.
  • CL60: The whole of Crookham Common, both inside and outside the airbase. Registered by the CGCA on 5 February 1968.

In most cases the rights still belong with the property and are exercisable by the occupier. There are a few properties for which this is not the case, and rights are owned “in gross” meaning they are now exercised by a person who does not own or occupy the property.

Multiple Registrations

Most properties claiming rights over Greenham Common made very similar, or identical, register entries for CL13, CL14 and CL55. But this does not mean that rights are added together – for example, if a property has a right to turn out five goats in CL13, CL14 and CL55, the total right is still only for five, not fifteen. Crookham and Greenham Commons adjoin and there is no fence separating them. Registered rights to graze animals are therefore regarded as applying to both commons. So a commoner with grazing rights on any of the CL units can allow their animals to roam the entire area. Commoners with rights to take wood, gravel etc. may also exercise the rights over both commons, although certain activities such as gravel digging may be restricted (by the landowner or the Commission) to particular locations.

No commercial use

No right, other than to graze animals, may be used commercially. Rights to take (for example) gravel, gorse, or firewood, are for use by the registered property only, not to take quantities to sell or give away.


With few exceptions, the right to take wood (typically for fuel or fence repairs), refers only to dead wood. It does not generally mean the right to cut living branches or to cut down trees.

Grazing rights

There is a wide variation in grazing rights, from one animal up to fifty-four. The reason is that traditionally, the number of grazing rights would depend on how many animals each commoner could over-winter on their own land. Records of the Greenham and Crookham Courts Leet suggest that the accepted figure was one horse or cow for each 1.5 acres (0.61ha).

The airbase and the Ministry of Defence

Cutting a long story short – in 1991 the MOD extinguished the commoner’s rights on the part of Greenham Common (but not Crookham Common) inside the airbase. However, the Greenham and Crookham Commons Act 2002 re-instated the extinguished rights, so the position established by the 1960’s registrations is once again in force.

A Register of Commoners Rights and the properties they are attached to can be found below:

The Deposited Map