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Information Hub

Village Greens Commons Rights of Way Protecting Open Space Wales General Information Archive Information Partners & Useful Links

Village Greens Information

Beating the bounds of your green or common

Parish and community councils, and other local groups, may like to beat the bounds of their local common or village green on Rogation Sunday. Beating the bounds is a centuries-old tradition, aimed at reminding everyone of boundaries that were important in their lives. During Rogationtide—the fifth w...

By-laws for village greens, commons and open spaces

By-laws are rules made by a local authority or certain other public bodies under an enabling Act of Parliament, for the regulation, administration or management of a specific area. They are binding on all those who come within their scope. By-laws can be made to cover anti-social acts which have been...

Court cases

Click on links below for details of useful court cases concerning registration of land as new greens. (Please click here if you would like to visit the British and Irish Legal Information Institute website and look at full judgments in any of these cases) Allen's Quay, Mistley - TW Logistics...

Driving and parking on your local green space

Residents often want to be able to stop cars, motorcycles, and even lorries and other large vehicles, from being driven and parked on their local open space. Such spaces are valued for quiet recreation and exercise, to be enjoyed for their own beauty or the views to be seen from them. It is intolerable...

Frequently asked questions

How can I protect the land? If you can prove that local people have used the land without secrecy, force or permission for at least 20 years for lawful sports and pastimes, you can apply to register the land as new green. This will protect it from development for ever and preserve it for use...

Getting Greens Registered

We published a revised third edition of our book Getting Greens Registered in response to the major changes in legislation introduced in the Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013 . The third edition has been further updated to reflect the amendment to the Commons Act 2006, contained within the Housing...

Guidance on making a successful green application

These guidance notes have kindly been prepared by The Friends of Coombe Wood, Thundersley, Essex, who successfully registered a green in 2013: Guidance Notes

Landowner statements: the threat to village greens

On 1 October 2013 England's greens suffered yet another blow, when further provisions of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 took effect.  Now you must apply to register land as a green within one year of a landowner's challenge to your use of the land for informal recreation. Under section 15A ...

Preparing your village green application

When preparing your application, follow the steps below: You will need to show on a map the area you wish to register and the locality or neighbourhood in which those using the green ‘as of right’ live. You will need to show that a significant number of those people who use the land are...

Prosecuting an offence on a village green

If you wish to prosecute someone for a criminal offence on a town or village green, an information must be laid before the local magistrates’ court by an inhabitant of the parish under the Commons Act 1876 s29 and Inclosure Act 1857 s12. Examples of encroachments on town or village greens include u...

Protecting village greens

Under section 29 of the Commons Act 1876, together with section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857, a person who: encroaches on, or encloses a town or village green or a recreation ground allotted by an inclosure award, or erects anything on, disturbs or interferes with that green or ground otherwise...

Public inquiry guidance

Our Vice-president, Edgar Powell, has prepared guidance on preparing for and attending a public inquiry. These guidance notes have been updated as at July 2014 and are available to download here.

Recent registrations

"I am delighted to inform you that we have been granted village green status after a public inquiry held in June 2012, and thank you for the help and assistance you have provided over the years." In 2016 we have helped our members to register the following greens: Oval Field, Selsey, West...

Registration

To register land as a green: First check with your registration authority (county or unitary council) to see whether it is already registered. If it is not, ask the authority for Form 44 and the regulations contained in the Commons (Registration of Town or Village Greens) (Interim Arrangements)...

Submitting your application

You should submit your application to the registration authority for determination. The registration authority will check it is in order and will then advertise it and receive any objections. A period of six weeks is allowed for objections. If there are any objections, the authority may hold an...

Voluntary registration/dedication of land as a town or village green

Under Section 15 (8) of the Commons Act 2006, powers are available which allow an owner of land, to dedicate land voluntarily as a town or village green by applying to have it included in the register of town or village greens.  Read our guidance note here and follow this link for further advice f...

Commons Information

By-laws for commons, greens and open spaces

By-laws are rules made by a local authority or certain other public bodies under an enabling Act of Parliament, for the regulation, administration or management of a specific area. They are binding on all those who come within their scope. By-laws can be made to cover anti-social acts which have been...

Commons Act 2006

The Commons Act 2006 is arranged in five parts: Part 1: registration, Part 2: management, Part 3: works, Part 4: miscellaneous, and Part 5: supplementary and general. Where Part 1 has been fully implemented, it repeals and replaces the Commons Registration Act 1965. To read the whole act...

Commons Act 2006 Part 1 Implementation

A pioneer implementation of Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 commenced in seven registration authorities in England on 1 October 2008. A further two commenced on 1 December 2014 and partial implementation commenced in Wales on 5 May 2017 to include section 19 (correction) and schedule 2 (non-registration...

DIY guide to registering lost commons

The Commons Act 2006 provides a new, time-limited, opportunity for you to rescue some of those commons which failed to be registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965. The registers have reopened in nine areas of England, and in Wales, so you should start now. In Wales the opportunity to rescue...

Registered common land and highways

Summary 1.1. Registered common land may also be part of a public highway, and evidence that land is registered common land or part of a highway is of little or no value in demonstrating that the land is not the other. Similar principles apply to registered town or village greens, although the statutory...

Successful applications to re-register common land

Successful re-registration applications in Cornwall Land at Carrine commons, parish of Kea, Cornwall The application was made on 15 October 2010, under schedule 2, paragraph 4 of the Commons Act 206, to add land to the register of common land. The land is approximately 17.35 hectares in area....

Works on common land in England

A practical guide for those wishing to carry out a lawful operation on a common and those who want to defend a common against unlawful or undesirable operations. This guide should be of interest to four main classes of reader: those who enjoy the open character of a common and believe it should be...

Works on common land in Wales

A practical guide for those wishing to carry out a lawful operation on a common and those who want to defend a common against unlawful or undesirable operations in Wales. For further details, please download our information sheet Works on common land in Wales

Rights of Way Information

Claiming a public footpath

Introduction 1. On 1 January 2026, the official map of public rights of way (the definitive map) is scheduled to be closed to claims for public footpaths and bridleways which existed before 1949 but have not been recorded on it. These pre-1949 public paths will then be formally extinguished. 2. At...

#FindOurWay

Ten years left to find our way On 1 January 2026—not ten years away—the official (definitive) maps will be closed against the addition of paths claimed on the basis of historic evidence. The process which path workers all over England and Wales have used since the first definitive maps app...

Path paraphernalia

The society has always encouraged easy access to paths and countryside. Structures in hedges and walls can all too often make this access difficult, and sometimes impossible. Many such obstacles are no longer needed, indeed many are not even authorised, but they remain. It is surprising how often...

Taking action

The latest in our series of guidance notes about preserving unrecorded rights of way from extinguishment on the cut-off day, 1 January 2026, and challenging councils who have failed to make progress with definitive map change applications In ‘Highways under threat, Challenging councils who have f...

The Deregulation Act

The Deregulation Act 2015 received royal assent on 26 March 2015. A small but important part of the act concerns public rights of way, and will take effect once the regulations and guidance have been completed; there is no date for this as yet but we will announce it as soon as available. The relevant...

Protecting Open Space Information

Community Asset and Protecting Open Spaces

Listing land as a community asset (England only) is a powerful tool as it gives local communities the opportunity to take control of assets and facilities in their neighbourhoods by providing a timescale for a proposal to be prepared. A listing may affect planning decisions because it is open...

Neighbourhood Planning and Protecting Open Spaces

Neighbourhood planning gives communities in England the opportunity and power to set local planning policies. More information about the process can be found in our information sheet. You can shape the place where you live, protect valued open spaces using the Local Green Space Designation ...

Protecting green belt land

What is green belt land? Green belts are a buffer between towns, and between town and countryside. The green belt designation is a planning tool and the aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; however, there is not necessarily a right of access there....

Protecting open spaces

"The OSS document on Local Green Spaces is excellent" (quote from member of the public enquiring about local green space designation, March 2014) New tool-kit to save open spaces We have launched our campaign to save England’s much-loved open spaces. We have published an open spaces t...

Wales Information

Commons Act 2006 (Wales)

Reregistration of common land Since 2008 it has been possible to register lost commons in seven pioneer areas in England and a further two pioneer areas were added to the list in 2015. Several hundred square kilometres of ‘waste land’ that was eligible for registration under the Commons Registration Act...

Action Plan for Wales 2016

Wales: Our Common Heritage The Open Spaces Society’s Action Plan for the Welsh Government, 2016-2021   Our Action Plan for the Welsh Government chimes with the seven principles in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015: open spaces and paths are crucial to the economy, h...

News from Wales

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales launches survey on strategic plan and policy priorities The office of the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, has launched a new website and broad conversation/consultation on their Draft Strategic Plan and policy priorities...

Cynllun gweithredu ar gyfer Llywodraeth Cymru 2016

Cymru: Treftadaeth Gyffredin ein Comin  Cynllun Gweithredu Cymdeithas y Mannau Agored ar gyfer Llywodraeth Cymru, 2016-2021   Mae ein Cynllun Gweithredu ar gyfer Llywodraeth Cymru yn cyd-fynd â’r saith egwyddor yn Neddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol (Cymru) 2015: mae mannau agored a llw...

Comment

We call for new Wales body to focus on commons, spaces and paths We have called for the new single environmental body in Wales to focus on common land, open spaces and public paths. The society has responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation paper, Natural Resources Wales. This invites v...

Useful links

Brecon Beacons National Park Cambrian Mountains Society CPRW (Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales) Natural Resources Wales National Assembly for Wales Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Save Morfa Beach and Follow Save Morfa Beach on Facebook Snowdonia National Park Wild...

Wales Environment Link

The Open Spaces Society is a member of Wales Environment Link (WEL) . WEL is an active network of environmental non-governmental organisations in Wales and the official link between the eNGO sector and the Welsh Government. Draft Planning (Wales) Bill Please click here to read the response...

Planning (Wales) Act

Update 20 July 2016   The Planning ( Wales) Act 2015 received Royal Assent in 2015. Part 8 of the Act contains sections which will amend the Commons Act 2006 in Wales. Section 52 introduces landowner statements which will allow landowners to deposit a statement to bring to an end “as of r...

Saving Welsh village greens from changes in planning law

The Open Spaces Society opposes the Welsh Government’s draconian proposals in its draft Planning Bill to make it more difficult for people to register land as a town or village green. The government wants to prohibit applications where land has been identified for planning, and to enable landowners t...

General Information

AGM 2017

Our AGM this year will be held on Thursday 6 July at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ. AGM Agenda 2017 After the formal business, we will have two speakers: Campaign for paths and greens in Oxfordshire Becky Waller, Friends of Dorchester and Little Wittenham Open Spaces, will...

AGM minutes

Draft AGM minutes July 16 AGM 2015 signed minutes AGM 2014 signed minutes AGM 2013 signed minutes AGM 2012 Signed minutes of unincorporated OSS, charity no 214753 AGM 2012 Signed minutes of incorporated OSS, charity no 1144840 Board of Trustees minutes 13 December 2011 SGM...

Our manifesto for the 2017 Westminster election

This time, because the political parties are focused on Brexit, we have tailored our manifesto to secure the best deal for public access and enjoyment. Public money for public access The Open Spaces Society is seeking a pledge in each party’s manifesto that, in the new funding scheme f...

AGM 2016

Our AGM this year was held on Thursday 7 July at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ. After the formal business, we had two speakers: Paul Johnson, Principal Specialist - Statutory Access, Natural England and Quentin Grimley, Wales Coast Path Officer, Natural Resources Wales, who spoke...

2015 Manifesto

Open Spaces Society’s manifesto for the Westminster general election, May 2015   Through our manifesto we call on the next Westminster government to promote and protect people’s right to enjoy open spaces close to their homes, as well as our splendid commons and network of public paths. The...

Events

There are no events scheduled at present. Please check back later for updates.

Legal Fund Applications (members only)

The society’s Legal Subcommittee will consider applications from members of the society wishing to take legal action in the society’s name, or wishing the society to take legal action, on cases relating to public paths, common land, village greens and other open spaces. The application for funding mus...

LAF News

In Issue 9 of the Local Access Forum (LAF) Newsletter from Natural England there are articles on: 1. the two recent national conferences in Leeds and Bristol, 2. the effects of last winter’s severe weather on access networks and possible new approaches to a changing climate, 3. how a H...

Memorandum & Articles of Association

The Open Spaces Society Memorandum of Association » Download The Open Spaces Society Articles of Association » Download

Open Space Magazine

One of the benefits of becoming a member of the Open Spaces Society is our magazine, Open Space , published three times a year and full of news and information about the society and its work. As a taster, we have uploaded a previous copy here for you. Click here to read. Libraries can subscribe ...

Parliament Piece - 750th Anniversary

Parliament Piece Nature Reserve in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, is owned by the Open Spaces Society and managed in partnership with Warwick District Council and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust . The reserve is so named because Henry III is said to have held a parliament there in 1266 during the Siege of...

Report and Accounts

Trustees' Report for 2015   Annual Report & Accounts 2015 » Download   Trustees' Report for 2014   Annual Report & Accounts 2014 » Download   Trustees' Report for 2013 Annual Report & Accounts 2013 » Download

Archive Information

AGM 2015

Our AGM was held at 11.00 am on Thursday 9 July 2015 at Friends' House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ. We were delighted to see many of our members in attendance despite the problems of rail and tube travel on the day. AGM 2015 signed minutes

AGM 2014

We held our AGM on Tuesday 8 July 2014 at Friends' House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ   Draft AGM Minutes July 2014 Looking to the Future   Our outgoing chairman, Tim Crowther, proposed the annual report and his remarks to the AGM, entitled Looking to the Future, can be read...

AGM 2013

Our AGM was held on Tuesday 16 July at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, Birmingham. Signed minutes of the meeting are posted here. During the afternoon, we were delighted to present awards to the following winners in our Open Space Award 2013 . View photographs of both these projects ...

AGM 2012

2012 Voting results AGM 2012 agenda Resolution 1 Proposer's supporting submission Resolution 2 Resolution 3 AGM 2012 proxy form Frequently asked questions - proxy form and AGM Trustee Meeting December 2011 minutes SGM November 2011 draft minutes AGM...

Action plan for Wales 2011

More than a quarter of new Assembly Members support our action plan for Wales Eighteen of the 60 members of the National Assembly for Wales have supported, wholly or largely, the Open Spaces Society’s 12-point Action Plan for Wales . We sent the plan, through our members in Wales and from our headquarters, t...

Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013

The Department for Communities and Local Government's draft order to amend the existing trigger and terminating events was confirmed in the House of Commons and the House of Lords on Tuesday 28 January. The order sets out a time limit for draft plans, Local Development Orders, Neighbourhood Development...

Open Day 2013

Our members, Dales Hall Nature Conservation Farm, kindly organised an Open Day at Dales Hall, Castlemorton, Malvern on Sunday 28 July from which proceeds went to support the work of the Open Spaces Society.

Open Space Award 2013

Read about the winners of our Open Space Award 2013 here . And you can view photos from the winning projects here OSS trustee, John Lavery, presents the Open Space Special Award for Community Engagement 2013 to Sir Gerald Acher of Cobham Conservation & Heritage Trust for their Riverhill project...