The commoners of most commons or groups of commons have formed management associations (Local Commoners' Associations; LCAs), which are in turn grouped in the historic north, south, east and west ‘quarters’ of Dartmoor. Under the Dartmoor Commons Act of 1985 each quarter elects five commoners to represent them on a central Dartmoor Commoners’ Council. All must be from different associations and one of the five must be a ‘small grazier’ with a right to graze less than 10 livestock units (each unit equals one adult cow or pony or 5 sheep).
The Council also has seats for two representatives of owners of the commons, two from the Dartmoor National Park Authority, one from the Duchy of Cornwall and a vet. It can co-opt two more members in addition to the 26 just named.
The Commoners’ Council makes regulations about most matters, which concern the management of the commons, the welfare of the stock de-pastured there and arbitrates in disputes between commoners. When necessary it enforces against breaches of the Regulations by going to court. The National Park Authority makes byelaws to regulate public access and behaviour under the same Act.
Dartmoor Commoners' Council, 1 Canal Road, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 8AR Tel: 01822 618892