23 JUNE 1939, Page 18

Stock and Estovers

Law, as well as custom, is being rapidly and essentially altered in regard to the commons. Some County Councils, within whose jurisdiction the weekly invasion by motorists is most persistent, are seeking to exercise new rights of control with the co-operation of the Lords of the Manor. These rights may include the planting of trees, even the erec- tion of buildings and the making of roads. Their zeal is chiefly due to the behaviour of the invaders. The litter they leave behind looks like a dust-heap. I have myself seen a picnic party set fire to gorse and heather; and before making any attempt to extinguish the blaze one of the party rushed off to fetch a camera in order to photograph the agreeable spectacle. With regard to the new efforts being undertaken by local bodies, the principle involved is this : is negative preservation enough, or should the commons be subject to definite plans? However, negative preservation is a pre- liminary essential.