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Common Land in Scotland. A Brief Overview

This paper traces the history of Scotland’s once extensive and diverse forms of common land. It provides an insight into why very littleof this common land is still in existence today. It shows how powerful landed interests were able to appropriate the bulk of these lands into their own substantial land holdings by the early nineteenth century. A description of surviving common lands is provided together with a brief insight into current management arrangements and a summary of the key lessons from the Scottish experience. In the concluding part of the paper, a brief overview is given of the new patterns of community ownership which are now emerging and the new legislative and financial instruments that are being developed to assist this process. A set of references and internet websites are provided for those wishing to further explore the topic.

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