Latest News

The Elinor Ostrom Award for practitioners: video

August 17, 2015

The society was proud to receive the first Elinor Ostrom Award for practitioners, two years ago in Japan.  This time, our general secretary Kate Ashbrook was one of the judges.  She went to the biennial conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) in Edmonton, Canada, in May and presented the…

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Beautiful scenery needs to be seen

August 6, 2015

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, talks to That’s Oxford TV about the society’s work in ensuring that the countryside is accessible to all and remains so.

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Commons registration: a half century

August 5, 2015

Fifty years ago today, 5 August 1965, the Commons Registration Act became law. The Open Spaces Society had pressed for the registration of commons for decades, and it was one of the principal recommendations of the Royal Commission on Common Land in 1958. During the passage of the Commons Registration Bill the society secured a…

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Silver jubilee of village-green revival

July 31, 2015

It is twenty-five years since the gates reopened to allow people to register land as a village green where that land had failed to be registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965.  On 1 August 1990, a quarter of a century ago, the society led the way in advising people what they could do, with stories in the…

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Championing Chiltern commons

July 27, 2015

As the Chilterns Commons Project comes to an end, project officer Rachel Sanderson reflects on its achievements. In the south-east of England, a large number of small commons provide important recreational facilities for people in urban and semi-urban communities.  Over the last four years, the Chilterns Commons Project, run by the Chilterns Conservation Board, has…

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The Royal Commission on Common Land at 60

July 25, 2015

Today, 25 July, marks the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment by parliament of the Royal Commission on Common Land in 1955.  The commission made far-reaching recommendations for the future of commons in England and Wales. The society had been pressing for a royal commission for some time.  In October 1953 it asked the Minister of Agriculture for…

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Lord Eversley’s message to members, 19 July 1915

July 20, 2015

One hundred years ago, on 19 July 1915 the fiftieth anniversary of the society’s foundation, our president and chairman Lord Eversley gave an address to the members.  It is published in a 16-page booklet marked, for some reason, ‘confidential’.  Here is a summary of what he said. On the 19th of July, 1865, fifty years ago…

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The Big Pathwatch

June 15, 2015

This summer, with funding from the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust, the Ramblers are launching a survey of all the public paths in England and Wales as shown on Ordnance Survey maps. The Big Pathwatch will launch on Monday 13 July and the Ramblers will be providing a handy new, free app for your phone so…

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Talking commons in Canada

June 11, 2015

The biennial conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) was held this year in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Kate Ashbrook attended,  generously funded by the Elinor Ostrom Award of which the society was a winner in 2013. Here is her summary of her visit. I travelled with John Powell from the Countryside and…

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Fighting on

June 10, 2015

‘Opinion’ by our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, was published in the summer 2015 issue of Open Space. When David Cameron announced on 8 May that he was forming a government, he boasted of his achievements over the last five years and what he would do in the next five. Not surprisingly there was no mention…

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