It is considered one of the finest village greens in Norfolk and has been the focal point of the community for centuries.

But while the idyllic eight-acre field in Bradenham usually offers a space for its thriving cricket team to knock its opponents for six, it has also - on occasion - been marred by troublemakers.

Now the parish council hopes to crack down on mischief-makers through an update of the village green bylaws, bumping up the fines it can issue from £2 to £500, and issuing new offences.

Eastern Daily Press: The Bradenham village sign next to the greenThe Bradenham village sign next to the green (Image: Newsquest)The rules to protect the green were last updated in 1966, the year England brought home the football World Cup and the likes of Frank Sinatra and The Beatles topped the charts.

While previous bylaws included rules for hanging washing out on the line, the updated changes are intended to tackle some more modern menaces.

They hope to crack down on vehicles damaging the much-loved green, including Segways, as well as restrict drones and activities like hang gliding and hot air ballooning.

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Eastern Daily Press: Tyre tracks left on the village green in 2020Tyre tracks left on the village green in 2020 (Image: Archant)

The updated laws follow a spate of vandalism of the green in recent years.

In 2020 the ground was left churned up and covered in tyre marks after the freshly laid cricket pitch turf was badly damaged by a driver.

Other incidents included problems with dog poo and anti-social behaviour.

Eastern Daily Press: Chris Allhusen, chair of Bradenham Parish CouncilChris Allhusen, chair of Bradenham Parish Council (Image: Newsquest)

Chris Allhusen, chairman of the parish council and a local blackcurrant farmer, said: "Our village green is wonderful and we are very proud of it.

"The previous bylaws go back to the 60s and are completely useless today.

"The update means we will be able to tell people who are breaking byelaws that they will need to pay attention or else."

The process to change the laws, which was started in 2019, took several years to be approved by the government.

It now means anyone caught breaking the rules could face a £500 fine, an increase of 2500pc.

The fine had remained at £2 since 1966, the equivalent of £32 in today's money.

The move has been welcomed by Tim Evans, chairman of Bradenham Cricket Club.

"Anything that acts as a deterrent and puts people off from damaging the green is good for us."

As well as for its stunning village green, Bradenham is known as the birthplace of Sir Henry Rider Haggard, the Victorian author of King Solomon's Mines and other adventure stories.

His portrait is featured on the village sign, which sits near the green.

Former Norwich City star Todd Cantwell, who grew up in nearby Dereham, has played cricket for the village team.Eastern Daily Press: A game of cricket being played on the village greenA game of cricket being played on the village green (Image: Archant)


A number of bylaws at Bradenham Village Green have been updated for the 21st century.

This includes banning anyone from "bringing into or driving on the ground a motorcycle, motor scooter, Segway (or similar vehicle), motor vehicle or trailer".

Horses are also banned unless the parish council provides consent. 

And skateboarders and roller skaters could find themselves in trouble if they cause "danger, damage or annoyance".

While cricket is allowed to be played on the green, no one shall throw or strike a cricket ball with a bat unless in the designated area.

Eastern Daily Press: St Mary's church in BradenhamSt Mary's church in Bradenham (Image: Newsquest)

Archery, golf, and throwing a javelin or discus are also prohibited without permission.

There are strict rules surrounding the use of drones and model aircraft on the green and you could also find yourself in bother if you decide to land a hang glider or hot air balloon on the patch of land.

Budding musicians can play their instruments on the green but if you are found not to be hitting the right notes and causing an annoyance, you may be forced to desist when requested to do so. 

Anyone caught breaking one of these byelaws may be removed from the village green by an officer of the council or police and they could be at risk of a £500 fine.