Frequently Asked Questions
Ownership and rights
What area is Cleeve Common Board of Conservators responsible for?
We look after Cleeve Common only - that is, the common land at Cleeve Hill. We have no responsibility for or remit over adjacent land.
- If you need to report a problem with, or the mis-use of, a Public Right of Way which is not on the Common we suggest that you log it with Gloucestershire County Council. If your query relates to the Cotswold Way, we suggest that you contact the Cotswold Trails and Access Officer at the Cotswolds Conservation Board.
- If you wish to report fly-tipping, abandoned cars etc we suggest that you contact the Local Authority (for example Tewkesbury Borough Council) which is responsible for that particular location.
- If you have any concerns or objections to a local planning application, we suggest that you log these with the relevent Planning Authority, and contact the Planning Officer at the Cotswolds Conservation Board.
- If you witness joy-riding you should report it to the police. Criminal activity should always be reported to the police - If you see an incident, and it is not urgent you can either call 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You should state what is happening, reference CLEEVE HILL, and as provide as much detail as possible, including pictures where you can. If you feel threatened, or a criminal offence is underway, please call 999.
Does the Common belong to everyone?
Definitely not! The term ‘common’ refers to the ‘rights of common’, in this case the rights of registered local landowners to seasonal grazing.
Cleeve Common is in fact privately owned. It is managed by the Board of Conservators and the public has right of access on foot under the ‘Right to Roam’– the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000. There is more about your rights and responsibilities on the Visiting page.
What right do the Conservators have to tell me what I can and can’t do?
The Board of Conservators was established by Act of Parliament in 1890 and given powers to make Bylaws and regulate what activities may take place on the Common, and where The Conservators exercise these rights to ensure that long-term conservation goals can be met and that different activities can peacefully co-exist.
What are the Conservators doing to look after the Common?
The Board manage the Common through Rangers (7 days per week), a Clerk, Conservation Officers, specialist ecologists as required and a range of volunteers. Conservation work is carried out according to a Management Plan that is approved annually by Natural England.
Where can I park to visit Cleeve Common?
There are several parking areas on the edges of the Common: see the 'how to find us' map. The main parking area is the Quarry Car Park at the Cleeve Hill Golf Club entrance. Please be aware that this car park fills quickly on busy days (fine weekends and when large events are taking place).
Note that it is an offence to park anywhere within the Common boundary except in the designated car parking areas.
Is there access for people with disabilities?
Access for visitors using wheelchairs, mobility scooters or buggies is possible at the Radio Masts, the Golf Club and West Down (see the Where to Park map). Please note there are no surfaced paths on the Common. Cotswold AONB includes 2 panoramic routes starting at the Radio Masts in the publication Walks on Wheels.
Can I reach Cleeve Common by public transport?
Marchants bus service 606 runs from Cheltenham to Winchcombe and Broadway. Alight at the Rising Sun or Golf Club. For details, see the timetable. You can also catch a local bus from Cheltenham to Prestbury and walk up Mill Lane, but this is about a mile of steep uphill climb.
What long distance footpaths cross the Common?
The Cotswold Way National Trail takes in all of the escarpment of Cleeve Common. There is also a Cotswold Way circular walk, the Cleeve Hill Common Ring. The Winchcombe Way and Gustav Holst Way also cross the Common.
Are there any public lavatories on the Common?
Regrettably no. Patrons of the Golf Clubhouse may use their facilities.
Sheep and cattle
How do I find out when there are sheep on the Common?
We keep the Sheep Status indicator on this website up to date. Under the Bylaws, those who have grazing rights may put animals on the Common from 25 April until 30 November, althoughnormallysheep are removed by the end of October.
Why are there cattle as well as sheep?
Sheep are selective grazers, preferring the shorter, sweeter grass and flowers. Cattle are less fussy and will tackle the longer, coarser grass, especially during the winter. They are an essential element of our conservation programme. Read more about grazing.
Isn’t grazing bad for the wild flowers?
Clearly livestock do eat flowers as well as grasses. However, they move on once an area has been grazed, allowing the flowers to bloom again. The overall effect is very beneficial: without grazing, the wildflowers would be choked out by the spread of coarser grasses and scrub. So grazing increases, not decreases, the diversity of flowers: the trick is to control the grazing pressure, so that not every last flower is grazed off, and to rotate the grazing, ensuring that some areas in some years are left alone.
Can’t you keep the cattle off the golf course?
For half the year, the cattle graze in large temporary paddocks so there isn’t a problem. In the summer they are allowed to roam freely, but we position the water troughs and salt licks well away from the golf course to discourage the cattle from wandering to that part of the Hill. Subject to obtaining any consents required under National Acts, the Golf Club is permitted to erect temporary fencing around greens if there is a risk of cattle straying on to them.
What should I do if I come across a dead or injured sheep?
Phone the Ranger immediately. He will deal with it and contact the owner of the sheep.
What activities are allowed?
Most types of activity on foot are permitted: walking, running, climbing, etc. Mountain biking is allowed on byways and other main tracks. Horse riding requires an annual permit. See the Things to Do page for more information.
What activities are prohibited?
- Anything involving a powered vehicle (except for mobility scooters and buggies): this includes cars, motorbikes, quad bikes, minibikes and powered model cars and aircraft
- Parking on the Common except in designated car parks
- Digging up, damaging or planning flowers, plants, trees or removing stone
- Camping or erecting tents, gazebos or other structures
- Lighting fires or barbecues
- Using metal detectors
Can I run an event on Cleeve Common?
By all means, but conditions apply if it is more than a group of people on foot. See the Organising an Event page. Whatever the event, it’s always best to contact us first so we can help you plan it and ensure that Ranger assistance will be available if needed.
Information and education
Where can I find out more about Cleeve Common?
We are continually expanding the range of information that this website carries (see the Resources section), but if you require more please contact us.
Do you have a guide for walkers?
Not yet, but you can download maps from the Resources section. See also the Walking section of the Things to Do page for links to other guides, including the Cotswold Way circular walk over the Common.
Do you have material for schools?
Yes - download our teachers' information pack from the Resources section of this website. This includes lesson plans and health & safety information, and practical information for your visit.
What assistance is available for school visits?
We encourage field trips by local school groups. We can offer a free lesson that lasts two hours with one member of staff, who may be supported by one to two voluntary helpers. All staff and helpers will have had DBS checks. School teachers must be present at all times during the lesson. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Can you provide a speaker to talk to a local group?
We are happy talk to local groups who have connections with the Common. We ask for a donation to cover our expenses and to support our work. Please get in touch if you would like to arrange a presentation.
Do you offer a guided tour?
Each year we run a programme of events which includes guided walks on the Common – see the Diary page. We would be happy to discuss special tours for local groups – please contact us. We ask for a donation to cover our costs.
Lending a hand
How can I get involved with Cleeve Common?
We welcome – and rely on – numerous volunteers to support us in conservation work and management of the Common. Please see the ‘Ways to support us’ page for details.
Alternatively, you may wish to consider financial support for the on-going work to preserve Cleeve Common as a wonderful place for future generations to enjoy. Again, please refer to the ‘Support us’ page.
How can I place a memorial on Cleeve Common?
We have a Memorial Wall surrounding the highest tree in the Cotswolds, which carries plaques in memory of loved ones. Please see details of the Memorial Programme.
Can I donate a memorial seat or tree?
We regret that we cannot accept donations of seats or trees because we do not have suitable sites for either.
Can I scatter ashes on the Common?
Yes and this gives you a special place to remember someone who loved the Hill. Please select a spot that gives you some privacy – not the obvious viewpoints – and do not dig a hole to bury the ashes or mark the spot with stones, flowers or other objects.