Latest News

Happy returns?

April 5, 2022

Anniversaries are opportunities.  So writes our general secretary Kate Ashbrook in her Opinion piece in the spring issue of Open Space. Ninety years ago this April, the trespassers on Kinder Scout in the Peak District made a brave bid for freedom. It is sad that government has not marked this event with a strong statement…

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How to use MAGIC

February 21, 2022

Do you want to know about the location of sites of special scientific interest, the distance between two places on a road or footpath, registered common land boundaries or to measure the area of a plot of land – we could go on? But the answer is almost certainly to be found in MAGIC. MAGIC…

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Newly recorded track in Norfolk

2026 Guillotine for historic ways is abolished

February 17, 2022

We are delighted that the government is to scrap the 2026 deadline for recording historic paths in England.  This deadline has, for more than 20 years, threatened our unique path-network. The deadline meant that on 1 January 2026, public rights over thousands of paths, which are public highways but not yet recorded as such, or…

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Insider hacks: Public access and rights of way guidance the Government doesn’t want you to see

February 17, 2022

The Government has progressively reduced the amount of information available to the public on the web. Sometimes it has done this by rewriting guidance so that it is easier to understand — but sometimes it has just removed guidance altogether, either because it thinks there is insufficient interest, or because no-one is left to update…

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New green secured voluntarily in Dartmouth, Devon

February 4, 2022

We are delighted that the historic community-orchard in Dartmouth, Devon, is now officially a village green.  On 2 February, the society joined an event organised by the Friends of Dartmouth Community Orchard and Dartmouth Town Council to unveil the plaque marking this achievement. Now that the orchard is registered as a green with Devon County…

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Queen's Crescent LGS, Exeter

Vital piece missing from ‘levelling-up’ jigsaw

February 2, 2022

We have criticised today’s announcement on levelling up as a missed chance to rectify the gross inequality of access to local spaces. The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has unveiled his ‘levelling-up plan’ without a mention of the importance of local green spaces.  Yet these, which have always been…

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Our stand against the grandstand

January 27, 2022

We save common land at Richmond Low Moor, North Yorkshire We have welcomed a court order setting aside the removal of common land from Richmond Low Moor following the society’s legal action. On 21 June 2021, North Yorkshire County Council granted an application by the Richmond Burgage Pastures Committee to deregister common land at the…

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Our justice system undermined

January 26, 2022

Over the last 157 years, the Open Spaces Society has taken pride in successfully using the courts to rectify wrongs affecting commons, greens, other open spaces, and public paths. We also back our members in their legal actions. Now, the Westminster government’s Judicial Review and Courts Bill is set to have a profoundly detrimental effect…

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A step up for England’s protected landscapes

January 20, 2022

The government has, at last, announced its response to the Landscapes Review in England.  The review, led by journalist Julian Glover, was published in September 2019, more than two years ago, and made ambitious recommendations for the future of our national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. In his foreword to the response Defra…

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Parks for ever

January 11, 2022

Simon Hunt, one of our trustees and the former chair of the Friends of Finsbury Park, reflects on the increasing importance of open spaces in the context of the pandemic and climate crisis. On 23 March 2020 the public was told to stay at home. Shops, pubs, gyms, theatres, cafes and restaurants were closed, and…

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