Frequently Asked Questions

(1) What is the purpose of the Commission?

It is a partly elected and partly appointed body that manages the Common on behalf of the West Berkshire Council. See pages "The 2002 Act" and "The Commission"

(2) Can any member of the public become a member of the Commission?

No. Ten members are commoners elected by their fellow commoners and ten are appointed by various public bodies. See page "The Commission"

(3) What is the cost to the Council Taxpayer?

None. The general management costs of the Common are the responsibility of BBOWT, but the Council and Commission are responsible to see that the duties under provisions Part2, Section 8 of the 2002 Act are implemented. Should any situation arise that causes a cost not covered under the terms of the lease between the Council and BBOWT, then the charge will be met under the Council’s general countryside fund.

(4) Can Members of the public attend Commission meetings?

Yes. 30 minutes are set aside as necessary at the start of a meeting to answer any Public questions. At least a week's notice to the chairman is required for such questions. These can be submitted by e-mail to, or in writing to:
Mr P Hendry
Countryside Manager
Countryside and Environment
West Berkshire Council
Council Offices
Faraday Road
Newbury RG14 2AF

(5) Can scramble bikes/quad bikes use the common?

Definitely not. The damage to wildlife and flora would be too great. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the common apart from those authorized by the Council.

(6) Can the Public go off path?

Horse riders and cyclists must keep to recognized paths. Walkers may cross anywhere but with great care. From April through July walkers are requested to keep off the open spaces to avoid disturbing ground nesting birds.

(7) Can dogs be left off the leash?

Again from April through July dogs must be kept on a lead anywhere around open ground. At all other times dogs must be kept under close control and on a lead if approaching livestock. There are posts coloured red or green indicating controlled and off leash zones.  

(8) Do the car park gates ever get closed?

Yes. They are locked between the hours of 4.00 p.m. and 8.00 a.m. in winter and 9.00p.m. and 8.a.m. in the summer.

(9) Can public events be held on the common?

This depends on type of event. First the Commission's approval must be sought before any event can be contemplated. Any festival or sporting event must be "conducive to the attainment of all or any of the purposes..." set out in the 2000 Act. In other words events such as Pop festivals, motor races or any other type of noisy or disruptive event would not get approval, neither would any application requiring access to open land in the summer months when ground nesting birds would be disturbed. Each application would be considered on its own merits. The Commission would want to engage with the public and it would be sympathetic to charitable events or those related to local culture/history.

(10) Can animals, wildlife or grazing be fed?  
Definitely not. Under very strict conditions grazing animals may be fed in difficult times. At present cattle are being fed due to the overgrazing arising from the herds confinement resulting from cattle TB.