Photo:Steve Morgan:Richmond Village Green
The Open Spaces Society is working with TruGreen Professional Lawn Care and the Sunday Telegraph in promoting the first-ever ‘Liveliest Village Green’ competition.
If you think your village green is the liveliest in the UK, all you have to do is send 50 words to the email address below detailing why you think it should win. Include in your entry a low-resolution photograph capturing it at its best. Your picture might show you and your family enjoying a game of football or your friends’ antics in the snow earlier this year with your town’s tallest snowman.
Email your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t forget to include your contact details and telephone number. Entries must be received by midnight on Sunday 7 March 2010.
To qualify for entry the land must be registered as a town or village green, under the Commons Registration Act 1965 or the Commons Act 2006. To check if it is registered contact your county, unitary or metropolitan council’s commons registration officer.
A shortlist of four village greens will be selected by TruGreen and the Sunday Telegraph. Each of the shortlisted entrants will win £50-worth of National Garden Centre vouchers and a year’s membership to the Open Spaces Society. An overall winner will then be selected, photographed and featured in the Sunday Telegraph. The winning entries will be announced in the Sunday Telegraph on 18 April 2010.
Town or village greens are areas of land where local people have enjoyed informal recreation, often for centuries. To be eligible for registration now, local people need to prove that they have used the land for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ for at least 20 years, without being stopped and without asking or being given permission by the landowner. The registration process is set out in the Open Spaces Society book Getting Greens Registered, and it involves gathering evidence from witnesses and other material, such as ancient and modern photographs of the land, and submitting them to the commons registration authority. Once the land is registered it cannot be encroached upon or developed, other than to provide for its better enjoyment by the public for recreation.
Greens come in all shapes and sizes, from the huge ones at Marsh Baldon in Oxfordshire and Barrington in Cambridgeshire, to pocket-handkerchief-sized spaces. They may be in the village centre, where cricket is played in the lengthening shadows of a summer evening, or a patch of rough land by the railway, where kids ride bikes and make dens.