It was a pleasure to read Jesse Norman’s article on creating a national park (NP) in Herefordshire (Opinion, August 27).

Not only are NPs good for tourists, there are potential benefits for residents too.

NPs contain large expanses of what is now ‘access land’, that follow demarcations drawn by the Royal Commission on Common Land during the 1950s.

Devon was recorded as having over 160 commons totalling 101,546 acres and now boasts Dartmoor NP; ‘Cumberland’, i.e. the Lake District NP had 67, holding 108,924 acres.

However, Herefordshire had just 5,476 acres scattered over 86 sites.

Traditional, gentle, time-honoured husbandry by commoners means the land often has high biodiversity, geological, amenity and heritage value, whilst being of vital cultural and economic importance, and is therefore fundamental to the attraction and long-term success of NPs.

Rights include pasture, fire wood, peat cutting, pannage for pigs, fishing, and quarrying. Many beautiful country homes are gentrified squatters’ cottages.

Herefordshire and its people suffered huge common losses by inclosure (a legal process) and enclosure (hedging/fencing), yet we pay the beneficiaries rent, mortgages and a subsidy.

By reclaiming our money, homes, land and rights we can achieve ‘public money for public goods’.

Covid-19 highlights the importance of food, fresh air and public spaces.

Mr Norman, make yourself a standard-bearer in an historic triumph of the British people and their land.

Go Jesse!

Jack Guest