The Official User's Guide to Crowborough Common


Welcome to Crowborough Common Community Website.

Crowborough Common is a beautiful area of undulating mature heathland, woodland and ghylls set close to one of the highest points in Sussex with spectacular views to the South Downs.

The common covers 222 acres and is the largest public open space within the town boundary.

When Earl De La Warr sold the common to the club in 1906 for £750, the public were given the right to continue to roam the whole common for the taking of air and exercise, including the areas used for golf. 'One of the Earl's conditions of sale was that the public were not to be excluded from the area' says Crowborough Beacon Golf Club.

This right is set out in several documents including the official history of the club published in 1994 (see The right exists in perpetuity and cannot be revoked, extinguished or overridden by other laws or designations.

'We could never own the land and keep out the public.' confirms the club.

The people of Crowborough and the general public have now enjoyed these access rights for over 100 years.

Please take care when walking the common. Golfers have a duty of care to those enjoying the common, as do members of the public. All must behave responsibly.

Crowborough Common Poster






The origins of Crowborough Common can be traced back nearly 1,000 years.  The Domesday Book of 1086 records a manor named Alchorne (Alsihorne) and Crowborough Common is the 'waste' of the Manor of Alchornes.  The waste was the land on which the lord's tenants, the commoners, could graze their cattle.

Crowborough Beacon Golf Club Limited, established in 1895, maintains a well-regarded course on part of the common.  In area, only about 20% of the common is golf course (greens and fairways) so there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy this land.  The club is the Lord of the Manor of Alchornes and holds registered title to most of the common.




  • Courier Publishes the Facts about Public Access on Crowborough Common

In a letter published in the Courier on 21 March 2014, local resident Brendan Clegg criticises Crowborough Beacon Golf Club receiving taxpayers' money. Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear Editor

At a time of cut-backs in our health and community services it is rather shocking to learn that a private golf club is receiving money from the public purse (Courier 14 March). This is to carry out restoration work to parts of Crowborough Common - works the club has failed to carry out over many years as one of their duties as custodians of this land.

It has also been reported that the club intends to move public footpaths that cross the common.  Such an application would also divert public money from more useful purposes as a public inquiry would be required. But the public paths, though useful, are an irrelevance as the public have a right, dating back to 1906, to walk freely over the entirety of the common.  This right is set out in the official history of the club - as the club state: 'We could never own the land and keep out the public'.

The club claim their concern is based on health and safety.  But there has never been a safety issue on our common.  With so much space and the application of common sense and courtesy by walkers and golfers alike, there is no reason why the status quo, enjoyed by so many, cannot continue for another 108 years.

Yours sincerely,

Brendan Clegg
Crowborough Common User Group


  • Failed attempt by club to remove public access rights

In 2013 the golf club erected signs on Crowborough Common stating that access was now limited to public footpaths and bridleways and that the land is governed by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW).

This is simply not correct - the signs are wrong and misleading.  The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs has confirmed in writing that the CROW Act does not apply.

Natural England and East Sussex County Council have also confirmed that CROW does not apply to this or any other common in East Sussex. 

The public are not, of course, limited to walking on public footpaths and bridleways - under the conditions set out by Earl De La Warr in 1906, the public have free access to walk the entirety of the common: 'One of the Earl's conditions of sale was that the public were not to be excluded from the area.' says the club.


  • Crowborough’s Gas Well 

The gas well on Crowborough Common is located between Sheep Plain, High Broom Road and High Broom Lane, close to residential properties.

You may wish to find it for yourself.  The co-ordinates are  (X)551057 (Y)129235

Enter them at the following website for a free location map:

The government has, in the past, issued Petroleum Exploration and Development Licenses (PEDL) for this well.

The well is on public access land owned by Crowborough Beacon Golf Club Limited.

Identified as ASHDOWN 2 and marked on recent Government maps as ‘a conventional well that flowed gas’, the well was, from 2008 until recently, under license to fracking specialist Cuadrilla Resources. 

The well was initially drilled in 1955 and is twice mentioned in the club’s official history book, ' The Life and TImes...'.

It is thought that the Weald area has the second largest reserves of shale gas in the country.

Click here for further information about Cuadrilla Resources and the gas well on Crowborough Common

Click here for information about Cuadrilla's activities in 2013 at Balcombe, near Haywards Heath 

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