Latest News

Our general secretary opens Nottingham’s historic town trail

September 24, 2021

On Sunday 26 September our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, will open Nottingham’s Victorian Town Trail. The five-mile route has been devised by the Friends of the Forest with Nottingham City Council to mark and celebrate the 130 acres of open space won by the people of Nottingham when land was inclosed under the Inclosure Act…

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Launch of website for lantern-slide archive

September 20, 2021

We have launched a new website for our unique collection of lantern slides. Our collection, at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), contains 19th-century legal-case papers, press cuttings and a thousand lantern transparencies of British landscapes from 1900-40. Some time ago a project was undertaken to digitise the lantern slides and instigate a 2020/2021…

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Seventy-fifth anniversary of Home Secretary’s stepping-stones

September 10, 2021

On 11 September 2021 we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the repaired stepping-stones on the North Downs Way, across the River Mole at Burford Bridge, Westhumble, near Dorking in Surrey (grid reference TQ172 512). The land is owned by the National Trust. The stones were replaced by James Chuter Ede, a member of the Open…

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Winter Hill trespass a milestone, but still a long way to go

September 3, 2021

The Winter Hill mass demo in 1896 was a milestone in the history of public access—but we still have a long way to go.’  So declares our general secretary Kate Ashbrook, who will speak on 5 September at the 125th anniversary event of the Winter Hill mass trespass.  Kate also spoke at the centenary event…

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Attendees at the event on 15 July

The Downs are for people, not for cars

July 21, 2021

A celebration of success after 25 years of campaigning On 15 July our general secretary Kate Ashbrook and case officer Hugh Craddock joined group member, Downs for People[1] (DfP), for a celebration of the success in its recent court case challenging the secret grant of a twenty-year licence for zoo parking.  As well as putting…

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Pentyrch Community Council voluntary registration for Ael y Bryn

July 20, 2021

We have recently received confirmation from the town clerk at Pentyrch Community Council, Helena Fox, that land know as Ael y Bryn was voluntarily registerd as a village green in 2014 and we have some photographs below of this open space near Cardiff and the plaque recording the event – local people can now enjoy…

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Book reviews – summer 2021

June 17, 2021

Heathland, by Clive Chatters (Bloomsbury, 2021, hardback and Kindle, both £35, but with good deals available). This is the latest edition in the British Wildlife Collection. In accordance with the exacting standards of this series, it is beautifully designed, uncluttered and attractively laid out, and with many hundreds of colourful images interspersed throughout. Despite the…

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Ronald Smith: 14 March 1923 – 25 February 2021

April 27, 2021

Our vice-president Ronald Smith has died aged 97.  He was our treasurer from 1989 to 1995, and we elected him as a vice-president in 2010 in place of his wife Margaret who died that year.  He was also our representative on both the Hampstead Heath Management and Consultative Committees. Ronald was born in Hendon in…

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EU protection for Welsh commons

February 23, 2021

At the last minute before Brexit was completed the Welsh Government followed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in applying environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations to common land. This means that if a development proposal affecting a Welsh common is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, it must be assessed…

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Knowle Green bus shelter

No Convenience for Knowle Green

February 4, 2021

The high court has quashed an order stopping up public access to highway land at Knowle Green in the borough of Solihull.  The order was made on our application.  The land comprises the public conveniences and surrounding land on a traffic island at the junction of Station Road and the High Street in Knowle. The…

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