Common land and town or village greens

We are responsible for maintaining the Registers of Common Land and Village Greens for Bedford Borough. This register is a statutory document (Commons Registration Act, 1965) and shows all such registered land in our area.

We amend the registers when we are notified by the Land Registry of changes in ownership of land and so it may not be conclusive.

The register lists all units of Common Land/Village Greens in three parts:

  • Part 1: Describes the land and its boundaries, details the date it became common land or a village green, and who registered it.
  • Part 2: Shows who has common rights over the land and what those rights are, for example, sheep or cattle grazing, the right to remove gravel and stone.
  • Part 3: Details who owns the land (if registered).

See GOV.UK for more information about the law regarding common land and village greens.

See the National Archives for more information about land ownership, use and rights about common lands

Common land searches

Bedford Borough Council carry out searches of the Common Land and Town or Village Green Registers. Normally, a Commons Search is carried out when a property is being bought or sold and usually via a solicitor.

Search certificates will reveal whether land is registered as common or village green, if there are rights of common, and whether or not ownership is registered.

We aim to reply to Common Land and Town or Village Green Searches within five working days.

Members of the public can inspect the register free of charge.

We are open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 9.30am and 4pm.

Please call 01234 276391 to make an appointment to view the registers.

Copies of the registers can be provided on payment of a fee.

Registering new town or village green

You can apply to have land registered as a green if it has been used by local people for recreation 'as of right' (ie without permission, force or secrecy) for at least 20 years.

See GOV.UK's guidance on how to apply for new common land or to make changes to the register. 

You can also visit The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for application forms

See the GOV.UK website for further information and details about restrictions or exclusions under the 2000 Act.