Staff & Trustees

Staff

There are eight members of staff who work from our office in Henley-on-Thames.

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Kate Ashbrook

General Secretary
Kate, a campaigner, became general secretary of the society in 1984. A former member of the Countryside Agency board, she is chair and a vice-president of the Ramblers, vice-president of the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society, a trustee of the Dartmoor Preservation Association and a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management. She is a member of Natural England’s stakeholder group on public rights of way, and is patron of the Walkers Are Welcome Towns Network. Kate had a personal victory when she successfully took East Sussex County Council to court for failure to reopen the infamous Hoogstraten footpath at Framfield. Her hobbies are walking, bird-watching and finding illegally blocked paths.
Nicola

Nicola Hodgson

Case Officer
Our case officer is Nicola Hodgson, who helps members with queries and problems on common land, town and village greens and open spaces. Formerly a solicitor in private practice, Nicola was instructed by Sunningwell Parish Council in Oxfordshire, whose application for a village green application went all the way to the House of Lords with a ground-breaking judgment in favour of the applicants. Nicola is committed to ensuring that people’s rights to enjoy the countryside are upheld, and is an active member of the Youth Hostels Association and National Trust. She enjoys walking and cycling and spending time with friends and family.
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Hugh Craddock

Case Officer
Hugh is our case officer assisting members of the society on technical, legal and practical issues regarding commons, greens, open spaces and public paths. Hugh formerly worked for Defra to deliver access under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000, commons legislation through the Commons Act 2006, as well as the recent reforms to greens under the Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013. Hugh lives in Epsom, Surrey and says he is ‘married with two horses’. He and his wife enjoy riding in the Surrey countryside, as well as walking further afield while on holiday, and is a volunteer for the British Horse Society.
Ellen Froggatt

Ellen Froggatt

Office Manager
Our office manager is Ellen Froggatt who lives in Watlington, Oxfordshire, with her husband. Ellen has had a long and varied career in office administration, including eight years as operations manager for a multinational music company before joining OSS. She enjoys singing with a local choral society and is also an active member of St Mary’s, Chalgrove, where she sings in the choir. Ellen and her husband are keen walkers and have taken walking holidays in the UK, Europe, South Africa and America. They also enjoy their memberships of the National Trust, RSPB and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.
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Christine Hunter

Office Assistant
Our office assistant is Christine Hunter. She has had a variety of administration roles which include working for BBC Radio 3 and 4, software and pharmaceutical companies. She enjoys attending country shows, usually in her role as an exhibitor. In her spare time Christine enjoys gardening as well as breeding and showing dwarf and mini lop rabbits.
Commons Re-registration Officer (Funded by the Candy Bequest)
Our commons re-registration officer, Dr Frances Kerner, is researching lost commons which are eligible for registration as common land under part 1 of the Commons Act 2006. She has enjoyed careers in the private and public sector working in health, telecommunications and education and achieved her PhD on Enclosure and Survival: Common Land in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns c.1600 – c.1900. Frances lives in Booker near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. When she is not researching in the archives, she enjoys gardening, walking and spending time with her family. She is chair of Booker and District Local History Group, an informal group that researches local history and delivers an annual talk to residents.
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Lucie Henwood

Accounts & Membership
Our financial administrator is Lucie Henwood. Lucie and her husband Colin ran their successful, traditional wooden-boatbuilding business in Henley for 34 years before selling it to two members of their team. Lucie now brings her many years of corporate experience to managing the finances and membership of the OSS. She is a Trustee of the Acorn Music Theatre Company and the Henley Youth Festival and enjoys performing with ‘The Average Wife Band’ and ‘Sam Brown’s Fabulous Ukulele Club’. Lucie is never happier than when sharing time with her family, especially when that includes boating, walking, cycling and exploring the beautiful British countryside.
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Nichola Finan

Digital Marketing & Content Manager
Looking after our website and social media profiles, Nichola has a marketing agency background where she used to buy 'space and time' for all manner of charity and commercial client campaigns. With digital media so much a part of all our lives, she is keen to adopt ways of promoting the society, its work and appeals via these channels. With a particular interest in the health and well-being benefits of spending time outdoors, Nichola does voluntary work with children and families at her local NHS hospital and is a keen runner and club tennis player in Cheltenham.

Vice-Presidents And Trustees

The Open Spaces Society has its headquarters in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. It has some 2,000 members throughout England and Wales.

It has a volunteer network, with members called ‘local correspondents’.

Vice-presidents

David (Lord) Clark,  Mike Clarke, Roger de Freitas, Tony (Lord) Greaves,  Richard Mabey and Ronald Smith.

Trustees

Phil Wadey 2019

Phil Wadey

Chairman
Phil joined the Society in 2004 to support the work on town and village greens, commons and rights of way. His original interest in rights of way came when he was riding a bridleway after school and found a notice saying the route was to be closed: he successfully fought the extinguishment application, and the bridleway is still open and in use some 35 years later. Phil specialises in the recording of rights of way, has successfully added 64 routes to the definitive map so far from historical research applications and has over 200 applications awaiting determination. He is co-author of 'Rights of Way: Restoring the Record' and provides training to others who also wish to save their unrecorded ways from extinguishment. He brings skills from running large projects in industry and from extensive board-level work in a range of organisations
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Graham Bathe

Vice-chairman
Graham is a former chair of the society. He is a council member of the National Trust and former director of the Foundation for Common Land. He has 40 years’ experience in access and countryside, working for government agencies, local authorities and charities in Britain and overseas. He led English Nature’s work on the CRoW and Commons Acts. Graham has worked on national visitor surveys, vehicles on RoW, and environmental conflict resolution. He served on the Wildlife and Access Advisory Group, National Countryside Access Forum, Defra’s Commons Act Project Board, and New Forest and Hampstead Heath committees.
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Stuart Bain

Trustee
Stuart was co-opted as a trustee in December 2019. His background is in banking, specialising in risk, compliance and governance. Based in South Wales, Stuart has a passion for the outdoors, walking and conservation. He is the hon treasurer and a trustee for the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust, helping the board to fulfil its financial oversight obligations. Stuart also volunteers as the risk, data protection and environment executive officer for the Long Distance Walkers’ Association. He will strengthen the Open Spaces Society board with his experience of charity governance, knowledge of issues facing Wales, and enthusiasm to protect open spaces for the public.
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Chris Beney

Trustee
Chris has served the society both as a trustee and as a local correspondent for many years. Trained as a Chartered Electrical Engineer, he was project manager for a small part of Concorde and later ran, with a colleague, a successful computer business for about ten years. He represented the society on the Rights of Way Review Committee’s working party which led to Defra’s guidance on the Equality Act’s impact on path structures. He has chaired a British Standards working party for two editions of BS5709, the national standard for path structures. He has worked on access related issues with Local Authorities for some 25 years. Chris has been a trustee of several other charities, currently just two, both involved in countryside access.
John Hall

John Hall

Trustee
John is Coventry born and bred and has served as OSS Local Correspondent for Coventry since 2013. He joined the Ramblers’ Association (RA) in 1978, was a founder member of Coventry RA in 1983, Group Footpath Secretary 1983-96 and 2013-2017 and a professional Rights of Way officer 1996-2013 with 4 local authorities, and for the RA and British Horse Society (BHS) headquarters. John has been a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way (IPROW) since 1996. He is a past member of the Rights of Way Review Committee and involved in the Countryside & Rights of Way Bill procedure for BHS. He has attended over 200 training courses including Rights of Way Law Review and IPROW and 47 public inquiries.
Simon Hunt

Simon Hunt

Trustee
Simon was co-opted as a trustee in December 2019. He is an undergraduate student at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. He joined the society with a desire to help protect and preserve urban parks and open spaces. He was chair of the Friends of Finsbury Park from 2017 to 2019, during which time, with the support of the society, the friends fought legal battles to protect Finsbury Park against the threat of over-commercialisation. At Oxford he was editor of the student newspaper, Cherwell, and president of the university philosophy society, in 2019. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling and hiking and is a keen photographer
Chris Meewezen

Chris Meewezen

Trustee
Chris was photographed at age 3 climbing up Jacob’s Ladder, in the Peak District and, by his teens, he was aware of unresolved definitive map issues and disputes with landowners on even such major routes as the Pennine Way. By 2013, he represented the Ramblers when, with Peak & Northern Footpaths Society, they won the inquiry which prevented Cheshire East stopping up Sandbach FP29. He later initiated a user group comparison of Cheshire Definitive Maps with the 1910 OS map which suggested some 509 potential claims to be made by 2026. Chris is currently the Society Local Correspondent for Cheshire East where, in addition to the normal workload, he is co-ordinating local user groups’ efforts to have lost ways claimed by the cut-off date.
Trustee: Tara-Jane Sutcliffe

Tara-Jane Sutcliffe

Trustee
Tara rejoined the Board of the Open Spaces Society in July 2020 after a sabbatical to work overseas. A civil society leader, she latterly directed the St Helena National Trust - the charity responsible for promoting and protecting the unique environment of the South Atlantic British Overseas Territory of St Helena. During her time on island, she served as a non-exec director and advisory board member, supporting the good governance of the St Helena Museum and providing quality assurance for programmes funded by UK Government and overseas donors. Tara reinvigorated the work of the Trust as a statutory consultee, leading responses to large-scale infrastructure projects and built coalitions to advocate for the island's internationally significant natural capital. An archaeologist by background and keen outdoors explorer, Tara is proud to support the campaign work of the Open Spaces Society and its mission to ensure continued access rights for all
Steve-Warr

Steve Warr

Trustee
Steve is a chartered accountant who trained in London with Price Waterhouse. After a period in management consultancy he spent most of the next 20 years in the banking industry both in the UK and abroad. His experience ranges from running complex business units through to being a chief risk officer and brings considerable experience of operating at board level to the role of treasurer. Living in north Oxfordshire his interest in village greens arose from living adjacent to one. He has been the society's treasurer and a trustee since 2014.
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