Purpose of the Foundation for Common Land

The Foundation for Common Land is a registered charity established to protect the public benefits from pastoral commoning.  Our charitable objects are as follows:

  • To conserve the agricultural systems and the cultural landscapes associated with commoning and the management of common land for the benefit of the public
  • To promote the conservation of the physical and natural environment of common land by supporting the responsible and sustainable pastoral use of commons
  • To conduct and commission research into commoning and common land issues and publish the results of such research to the public at large
  • To educate the public, particularly policy makers and other interested parties in subjects pertaining to commoning and common land

Our supporters include commoners’ associations and federations, parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations. Our core principles, as specified in the charter which all supporters are invited to sign, are:

  • The active management of common land makes a significant contribution to rural economies and the maintenance of local communities
  • The active grazing of commons provides substantial public benefits by managing land to enhance its landscape, biodiversity, access, heritage and other environmental goods
  • Common land and the exercise of common rights are fundamental components of our historic and on-going culture.


In 2006 a number of commons graziers’ organisations discussed the idea of setting up a national umbrella network to promote, advocate and care for a unique and precious approach to landscape, farming and the management of common land.

An inaugural meeting for all interested parties was held in December 2008. At that time it was agreed that a Shadow Board (8 members representing the main commons graziers’ organisations in the UK), other volunteers and some self-employed specialists would research and develop a ground-up, light but effective partnership organisation.

The result was the development of a structure that brings together existing commons grazier organizations including the Dartmoor Commons Council, Federation of Cumbria Commoners, the Yorkshire Federation of Commoners, Gower Commoners Association and Scottish Crofting Federation among others, along with organizations with European links and professionals with significant knowledge and experience in the sector.

A fundamental principle is that the work of FCL will be driven by the demands, concerns and needs of grass-roots active graziers.