Latest News

Reopening of blocked footpath in Cornwall follows threat of legal action

August 1, 2022

Following a threat of legal action, a landowner has removed crops which were obstructing the route of a public footpath at St Ervan, three miles south-west of Padstow in Cornwall. The landowner is a St Ervan parish councillor. Cornwall Council, the highway authority, had failed in its legal duty to ensure the path remained unobstructed,…

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Hertfordshire paths-champion wins our prestigious Eversley Award

July 28, 2022

Mr Chris Beney of Bushey in Hertfordshire is the second-ever winner of the Open Spaces Society’s rarely-presented Eversley Award for Outstanding Personal Endeavour. The award is named after Lord Eversley, the distinguished founder of the society in 1865, and for many years its president and chairman.  It is presented occasionally by the trustees to people…

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Our latest local correspondents’ conference

July 26, 2022

Fourteen of our local correspondents (about one third) gathered, with our chairman Phil Wadey and five members of staff, at Hillscourt conference centre, on the edge of the Lickey Hills near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, for a two-day event.  It was an opportunity for us to update each other on the law and guidance, and to…

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Common land saved at Bracelet Bay beauty-spot, Swansea

July 19, 2022

We are pleased that Swansea City and County Council has withdrawn its application to deregister [1] common land at Tutts Head, Bracelet Bay, Mumbles.  This is a popular beauty-spot, and deregistration would have made the land vulnerable to development. The council had applied to itself to deregister the land on the basis that the land…

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Now is the time to give public access a leg up

July 7, 2022

‘The new agricultural-payment regimes in England and Wales provide a perfect opportunity for farmers and landowners to give public access a leg up.’ So declared our chairman, Phil Wadey, in his keynote speech to the society’s annual general meeting in London today (7 July). ‘The Westminster government and the Wales Senedd have agreed that farmers…

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Café on Bristol’s Downs

July 5, 2022

We are dismayed that councillors in Bristol have approved plans for a café on the city’s glorious downs, close to the Avon Gorge.  We have called for radical reform of the nineteenth-century Downs Committee, which put forward the plans. Bristol’s iconic sea-walls are a wholly inappropriate site for a café.  It will spoil the view…

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Open Spaces Society marks centenary of important law for common land

June 29, 2022

Today (29 June) the Open Spaces Society, Britain’s leading pressure group for common land(1),celebrates the centenary of the Law of Property Act 1922.  Thanks to the efforts of the society, the bill was amended in parliament to give the public rights to walk and ride on certain commons, and protect commons from enclosure and encroachment.…

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Norfolk common saved from electricity development

June 28, 2022

We are delighted that a Norfolk parish council has withdrawn consent for works on the local common, ensuring that the land can remain free and unencumbered. The common is a tiny (one-eighth of a hectare) patch of land south of Broomsthorpe Road in East Rudham, six miles west of Fakenham.  It is owned by the…

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An interview with the IASC

June 14, 2022

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, recently spoke to the International Association for the Study of the Commons to give a history of Open Spaces Society and our work. The article below appeared in the IASC newsletter. I am Kate Ashbrook, and have been the general secretary (chief executive) of the Open Spaces Society since 1984. …

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What quantum shift?

June 14, 2022

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, writes of the government’s failure to deliver on public access. Last July Natural England (NE) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) invited us to contribute to Lord Agnew’s ‘Commission on levelling-up access to the outdoors for all’. They wished to ‘gather views and consider the development…

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