Common land

There are three ways to search the 'Register of Common Land and Village Greens'.

  • In person – the register can be searched in person for free by appointment. To make an appointment contact the Definitive Map team about searching the common land register.
  • Online – those who make regular searches may prefer to request details online from the National Land Information Service.
  • Ask us – for a small fee we can do the search for you. Applications must be made in writing. Find out more about common land register searches.

To search for common land or village greens in Brighton or Hove, contact Brighton & Hove City Council.

Before buying a property it is wise to check whether it sits on, or near, a town or village green. This may be included in your survey, but you can also check the registers yourself.

Using the registers you can check whether:

  • the property is on land registered as common land or a village green
  • any ‘rights of common’ exist on that land

The written register will reveal the name of the owner of the town or village green and tell you about who has rights of common over the land.

Common land is not land which is commonly owned. The term ‘common’ refers to the ‘rights of common’ that local people (known as ‘commoners’) were granted in the middle ages.

Rights of common vary depending on the land, but may include grazing animals and collecting firewood.

The registers of common land and town and village greens in East Sussex are held at County Hall in Lewes. The registers are formed of a written record that describes each piece of land, and a set of maps map with all registered common land and village greens marked on them. These can be viewed by contacting the Definitive Map team

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