Commons are for All

Our John Muir Award helps pupils in Shropshire and Cumbria engage with upland commons

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Upland Commons are perhaps unique in being open to all, but with collaborative management shared by land owners, managers and graziers (commoners) for the benefit of all involved. They are wild places for people to enjoy, nature to thrive and for farmers to make part of their living. 

In 2018-19 the John Muir Trust undertook a development project “Commons are for All", within the National Lottery Heritage Funded project 'Our Common Cause: Our Upland Commons'. This enabled us to work collaboratively with four areas of upland common, using the John Muir Award as a framework for engagement.

Following this collaboration, we have published a John Muir Award Resource Guide - Upland Commons, and two case studies - one from Shropshire Hills Federation of Schools, and one involving two Cumbrian schools, Patterdale and Ennerdale to demonstrate John Muir Award activity on upland commons.

Les Ball, Head Teacher at Shropshire Hills Federation, sums up what getting out on the Long Mynd common meant to the young people involved: “The children will never forget these days. The farming, walking, and experiencing the elements… I have spent today updating our school development plans and have included a big section on outdoor learning, caring for the environment, being adventurous and children learning to manage risks.” 

Brian Lloyd, Long Mynd commoner and grazier, added: “I’m hoping that the benefits to us will become apparent as the years roll by, with greater appreciation of what the commoners are achieving, not only from the staff and children, but also their children. “

Find out more about upland commons and the Our Common Cause Project.

Photo shows Cumbrian pupils exploring an upland common