Today, grough has a little quiz for you. Mull over these quaint words and have a think if you've any idea what they mean.

Estovers, pannage, piscary, turbary. The clue is, they all relate to common land.

The terms above relate to rights of people on common land. There's a general misunderstanding about commons: they do usually have owners and they quite often have rights of access for us all. The system of commons in England and Wales goes back a long way. The first law passed in relation to them was the Statute of Merton 1235 and case law has been building ever since as agriculture and recreational needs evolve and the mediaeval feudal system wilts away.

Why, you may ask, are we having a history lesson? Well, the Commons Act 2006 received royal assent this month and has a small impact on lovers of the outdoors. It is now illegal to carry out 'works' on some common land without the say-so of the Secretary of State or the Welsh Assembly - and those works could be as simple as the erection of a fence blocking access.

The Open Spaces Society (OSS), the pressure group for, well, open spaces, is chuffed with the new Act, which it says will stop common-land thieves appropriating the land for their own uses. Which, in the end, has to be good for those of us who want to walk, cycle or run across England and Wales's open spaces.

The OSS's case officer Nicola Hodgson said: "For many years, the society has campaigned for the public to have the power to take action against unlawful works on common land.

"Once these provisions in the new Act take place, probably next year, we shall be ready to take action against anyone who breaks the law by erecting fencing or other works on registered common land without the necessary consent.

"We want people to inform us of any unauthorised works which have been erected since 28 June 2005."

The new law will also make it harder to object to the registration of new commons and will enable commons councils to be established to oversee agricultural practices on the land in question.

The OSS is also looking at between 300 and 900 cases where common land was left off registers in the 1960s and which may now be open for re-registration. Possible cases include High Leck Fell near Kirby Lonsdale, West Common and Herdship Fell near Middleton in Teesdale and Hurst Moor near Marrick.

So, good news for access to English and Welsh commons. And now, those rights you've been scratching your head over. The right of turbary is the right to cut peat for the hearth; piscary is the right to fish; estovers to collect bracken or firewood, and grough's favourite pannage, the right to enable pigs to forage on beechmast and acorns.