The Sudbury Common Lands Charity was established in 1897 as the custodian of Sudbury's famous Common Lands.
Today, the charity is lead by 16 trustees who aim to maintain the unique riverside landscape with nature in mind to encourage wildlife to flourish. We employ two full-time rangers who manage the land within environmentally sympathetic agricultural schemes without the use of chemicals.
Through the rangers, the charity offers guided walks, talks and educational work with local schools and interest groups to inform everyone about the value of the area.
Contributions towards the continued maintenance and management of this special landscape are welcomed in the form of volunteer commitment, donations and legacies. We also earn income by maintaining nearby cherished green spaces including Friar's Meadow, the Valley Trail, Cornard Riverside, Shawlands Local Nature Reserve and Cornard Country Park .
The trustees have also been responsible for reviving a number of ancient ceremonies linked to Sudbury, including the Quinquennial Turning On ceremony - a ritual held every five years to celebrate the arrival of the cattle on the meadows .
The event sees the Mayor of Sudbury inspect the grass as the first cattle are turned out onto Freemen’s Great Common. The colourful event includes mace bearers, freemen, charity trustees and voluntary rangers who follow the Mayor onto the meadows in procession.
Sudbury Common Lands Charity's parent organisation, the Sudbury Municipal Charities administer gifts to elderly townsfolk on Ascension Day and Christmas Day - traditions that date back over 400 years.