Professional Training Courses

“Overall, it was a well-received training day!  Well done!” 
Attendee at a combined commons and village green training day.

If you want or need to improve your knowledge of open spaces and their protection, why not attend an Open Spaces Society training day?

But hurry, our trainers are much in demand and get booked up fast.

We provide a range of professional training to local councils, national park authorities, access users and commons managers including whole day courses tailored to your requirements.  We can also provide bespoke training to any group with an interest in our commons, greens and open spaces where such training would be of wider community benefit.  

The society is not offering face-to-face training at present but, for further information on any of our training courses including online training, please email  


Common land training

Our comprehensive training course includes:

  • An introduction to commons and why they are important
  • Relevant legislation
  • Works on common land and exemptions
  • Process for exchange of common land
  • How to take action against unlawful works
  • Good practice for developing ideas for the management of commons based on the Open Spaces Society’s pioneering publication, Finding Common Ground.
  • Practical solutions to problems such as car parking, encroachment and vegetation.
  • Exchange of ideas on good practice

“Excellent, presenters had a good and detailed grasp of the issues”
(attendee at Yorkshire LCA training session on common land and village greens)


Commons management for land managers

Our course is designed to help land managers, and others with an interest in commons, understand their rights and responsibilities, and prepare and implement management plans on common land.

It covers important topics, including:

  • The history and origins of commons and why they are important
  • Commons legislation
  • The use of commons consents
  • Consultation exercises
  • The process of obtaining planning consent for fencing, with a practical exercise.

“I arrived thinking I knew a fair bit about commons, their history and the rights associated with them, soon to be put right by Kate’s and John’s remarkable depth of knowledge.”
Attendee at Great Fen Training Day

Village green training

Our comprehensive training course covers:

  • An introduction to village greens and why they are important
  • Relevant legislation
  • The role of local councils in relation to village greens
  • What can and cannot be done to protect and manage village greens
  • Voluntary registration
  • How to register land as a new green using the evidence process – the steps to be followed and potential pitfalls to watch out for
  • The Growth & Infrastructure Act 2013 and what it means for new greens in England
  • the National Planning Policy Framework’s reference to green spaces and the Local Green Space designation
  • Exchange of ideas on good practice.

“Very interesting and well-presented topic. Enthusiastic attendees and excellent rapport with the trainers, Kate and Nicola”

Restoring the Record training

The aim of the training course is to enthuse, enable and empower rights of way researchers to make definitive map modification order applications to ensure routes that would be extinguished in 2026 are saved from the cut-off date.

Phil Wadey (our former vice-chair) and his colleague Sarah Bucks, both of whom are acknowledged experts in the field, run this day.

It covers important topics, including:

  • how to identify historical routes and the key resources used to study them
  • what your research and evidence can unlock
  • how to create a systematic research method to investigate your routes

'The training day was fantastic, packed with information and practical advice, delivered in a relaxed way'   Attendee at Brackenhurst based course

'I feel more confident to detect an opportunity for the registration of an unrecorded RoW and hope to investigate some local possibilities'   Attendee at Henley-on-Thames based course

The training is FREE and open to everyone.  Course dates will be published on this page as dates and venues become available.


Commons – management, governance and sustainability (Online Course)

This course is run by the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) at Gloucestershire University and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico.

The online course focuses on different aspects of global commons in the widest sense—land, air, water, forests, fisheries, the internet.

It will teach those defending commons how to devise and run a campaign.

Our general secretary Kate Ashbrook, who has practical experience of campaigning, is one of the tutors.

Key benefits of the course include:

  • On-line ‘distance learning’ programmes aimed specifically at raising awareness and sharing experiences of commons issues around the globe
  • Joint delivery in Spanish and English by the University of Gloucestershire in the UK and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
  • Benefits for practitioners and policy makers working in a wide variety of locations, enabling access to the course materials at times most suited to your personal situation
  • Access to a wide range of materials on commons, and opportunities for discussing issues with tutors and wide range of others involved with commons management
  • No need to worry about time differences between the UK and your location, on-line discussions are managed over a period of days to allow you to engage with questions and respond to comments – wherever you happen to live and work
  • On-line delivery reduces the costs of participation.