About the North Runcton Commons
North Runcton is lucky to have several large areas of common land within the parish – and they provide an important element to our rural setting. There is considerable evidence to suggest that they are at least Anglo Saxon in origin and in the past they would have been even more extensive. They are an important refuge for a variety of wildlife – where urban expansion and intensive modern farming have eroded many other habitats.
The principal common land areas are North Runcton Common (which mainly lies beside Common Lane/Chequers Lane, but also includes areas within North Runcton village including Church Green and the wide verges on Rectory Lane), Hardwick Common (lying west of the A10 and forming a continuation of the large West Winch Common), Sheep’s Course Wood (which lies beside the A47) and Setchey Common (lying south of Setch Road and actually situated within West Winch parish).
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The common land is mainly owned by a local resident – Peter Lemon, who also holds the title of ‘Lord of the Manor’. Church Green (part of North Runcton Common) is owned by North Runcton Parish Council. Most of the North Runcton common land also has ‘common rights holders’. Traditionally the rights holders would have been parishioners who were allowed to graze animals on the commons. Nowadays there is only one grazier, Jeremy Fuller, and the other rights holders permit him to utilise their right to graze stock and take hay. All of the main commons are regularly used for grazing or hay production – except Sheep’s Course Wood, which is a designated County Wildlife Site.
The Countryside Rights of Way Act (2000) gave the general public a right of access to roam on common land. However, dogs should be kept on leads when stock is on the common, and also during the bird nesting season (March to August). Other wildlife should not be disturbed. It is preferable for visitors to avoid walking over a standing hay crop (indicatively between April and June) and in general it is preferred if visitors stick to the roads and established paths.
More history of the North Runcton Commons is provided at the ‘North Runcton Parish’ tab on this website. All of the North Runcton Commons are identified as ‘Sites of Local Value’ in the North Runcton and West Winch Neighbourhood Plan. It is very important that dog owners remove any dog waste from the common as this can lead to disease in cattle (refer to ‘Dog etiquette’ tab on website).