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Police on Wanstead Flats July 1871. Credit Essex Field Club

Saving ‘the People’s Forest’ – a forgotten anniversary

July 13, 2021

This is a year of anniversaries to celebrate in the contests over open spaces around London; 150 years ago, and after long local struggles in each case, legislation was passed preserving Hampstead Heath and Wandsworth Common from development, campaigns in which the Commons Preservation Society (CPS, and the forerunner of the Open Spaces Society) played…

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1871 poster

150 years ago today – the story of the Wanstead Flats landmark demonstration

July 8, 2021

150 years ago today, on 8th July 1871, thousands of people gathered in Epping Forest to mount a protest. A campaign was beginning – one that the renowned environmental historian Oliver Rackham has called “the origin of the modern British conservation movement.” This campaign, to preserve Epping Forest and other commons from unchecked housing development…

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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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Planning to grant a green?

June 15, 2021

Grant a Green On 26 April we launched our Grant a Green campaign, calling on local councils in England and Wales voluntarily to register their open spaces as town or village greens. Registration will give local people rights of recreation on the land and protect it from development. Now is the time to secure our…

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Detail of the plaque for the bench

Walkers’ champion honoured with bench

May 11, 2021

Some of David Bounds’ family and friends met on 30 April to unveil a bench in his honour on the hilltop footpath between Aston and Remenham.  David, who died in October 2019, aged 87, was the author of the Rambling for Pleasure series of walking guides. David, who lived in Twyford, spent much of his…

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Grant a green: The Open Spaces Society’s call to local councils

April 29, 2021

Today we launch our Grant A Green campaign.  The society is to urge local councils in England and Wales voluntarily to register their open spaces as town or village greens[1], to protect them from development and give local people rights of recreation there. It is more important now than ever to secure our green spaces. …

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Tony on Trawden recreation ground with Pendle Hill behind, Christmas day family meet-up outdoors, 2020

Tony Greaves (27 July 1942-23 March 2021)

April 6, 2021

We are deeply saddened that our vice-president, Tony (Lord) Greaves, has died suddenly at his home at Trawden in Lancashire. He was 78. Tony was a Liberal Democrat peer and Pendle Borough Councillor, who spoke out strongly on behalf of the environment and people’s rights. He entered the House of Lords as a life peer…

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Countryside Code’s seventieth anniversary

April 1, 2021

The Open Spaces Society’s involvement with the Countryside Code precedes its first publication, as the Country Code, in 1951. In fact, with the Ramblers, we instigated it. The society has always wanted to see greater access to the countryside and everyone to feel welcome there. In 1945 we noted that one of the difficulties we…

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Government’s missed opportunity to protect local open spaces

March 25, 2021

We are dismayed that the government proposes, in wholesale changes to the planning system, to undermine the protection afforded to green spaces. The society has raised these concerns in its response to the consultation from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government on amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The NPPF, among…

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Brent River Park summer 2020

Open Spaces Society delighted that Brent River Park, Ealing, is saved

March 25, 2021

We are delighted that Ealing Council’s planning committee on 17 March resolved to save Brent River Park.  It rejected Be:Here Ealing Ltd’s application to erect a massive leisure centre, six high-rise housing blocks and other development on the Gurnell Leisure Centre site next to the park. Although the council’s planning officer recommended conditional approval, the…

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