Charming corner of countryside near Diss can be enjoyed by all

St Clement’s Common

St Clement’s Common - Credit: Archant

It is a charming corner of Norfolk, which enjoyed the remarkable distinction of becoming the first new common created in Britain in the 20th century.

Now, St Clements Common has marked a new chapter in its history, which will secure it as a spot for future generations to enjoy.

Access rights to the three acre site, in Rushall, near Diss, have just been passed to the Open Spaces Society (OSS), a group dedicated to protecting public areas.

Previously, these rights were held by a former clerk of the local parish council. He has passed them on, as he wants to ensure there is no prospect of the land being lost to development.

The public has had access to the area since 1995, when it was created as a common. The owner at the time, Daphne Buxton, bequeathed the land to the parish council, and passed the rights of access to Maurice Philpot, the clerk, as well as being a friend and member of the OSS.

She did this, to ensure the land could not be developed, and Mr Philpot has now passed it to the OSS to ensure her wishes are fulfilled. The land remains owned and managed by Dickleburgh and Rushall Parish Council

Mr Philpot, from Lowestoft, said: 'Daphne wanted the land to be used as an amenity and was aware of land that had been left for a specific purpose only for the local authorities to sell them on.

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'She knew I sympathised with her ambition and left the land to me. I was intending to leave it in my will but I thought it was only right to give it to the OSS while I was in the land of living.

'It should be available for local people to have as an asset.'

The common, which has a grassland area and a section where games can be played, is one of 350 registered commons in the region.

As the holders of the rights, the society now has the right of 'estovers' – to collect furze and bracken.

Nicola Hodgson, the society's case officer, said: 'We are delighted to become the owner of a common right, which gives us a stake in this lovely open space.

'It is well-loved and enjoyed by the community and is an important part of the local scene.

'Thanks to the foresight of Daphne and Maurice, the land will be protected for all time.'

The common can be found at the crossroads of Vaunce's Lane and Langmere Road.

Have you used saved a piece of land for community use? Email

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