Latest News

The Perfect Gift For Outdoorsy People

November 19, 2018

Looking for a last minute present for Christmas that will give lasting enjoyment? Shopping for a gift for the outdoor fan in your life? Do you want to purchase and send the present without hitting the High Street? Southborough Common OSS membership gift vouchers will be valued by anyone who appreciates our amazing landscapes and path network,…

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Pulling The Trigger On Village Greens

October 25, 2018

Cooper Estates Strategic Land Ltd v Wiltshire Council and Richard Gosnell and Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council. This is the first court case to pronounce on the meaning of ‘trigger events’ (as defined in section 15C of, and schedule 1A to, the Commons Act 2006) and has worrying implications. Such an event, which includes the…

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Countryside Act at 50

July 3, 2018

On 3 July we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Countryside Act 1968, an important piece of legislation.  The Open Spaces Society, with the Ramblers, played a major role in its genesis.  Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, explains its history and significance. The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, which led to…

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What tragedy?

June 29, 2018

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of an influential article which, wrongly, gave commons a bad name. In 1968 Science magazine published a paper called ‘The tragedy of the commons’ by biologist Garrett Hardin. Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, explains. This was about the global population problem, in part inspired by an 1833 pamphlet by…

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Join us to celebrate the Spirit of Kinder

April 10, 2018

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, will be one of the expert speakers at a celebration of the Spirit of Kinder to be held at Friends Meeting House, Manchester on Saturday 21 April 2018 from 13.15 to 16.00. In addition to her work with OSS, Kate is chair and a vice-president of the Ramblers, vice-chair of…

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We speak at international congress on rural paths

March 7, 2018

Hugh Craddock, one of our case officers, is speaking today (7 March) at a congress* in Barcelona on paths in rural areas. Hugh will explain the importance of rural ways in England and Wales for informal recreation.  There are probably more than 200,000 kms of rural ways in England: footpaths, bridleway, carriageways, cycle paths and…

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The search for lost commons

November 27, 2017

We have launched a search for common land which must be registered and protected. The Commons Registration Act 1965 required all commons to be registered but allowed only three years for this to be done.  Some commons which were provisionally registered were subsequently struck off on spurious grounds.  Now, it is possible, in the ‘pioneer…

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Our new book to celebrate public paths

October 31, 2017

We have published a new book, Public Paths, which is an exploration of the origins of ancient tracks, droves, bridleways and footpaths which make Britain unique. It is written by our chairman, Graham Bathe. At a time of austerity, the opportunity to use and enjoy public paths has never been more important. Walking is the…

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Our manifesto for the 2017 Westminster election

May 10, 2017

This time, because the political parties are focused on Brexit, we have tailored our manifesto to secure the best deal for public access and enjoyment. Public money for public access The Open Spaces Society is seeking a pledge in each party’s manifesto that, in the new funding scheme for agriculture, public money is spent on…

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We deplore further erosion of green-space protection

April 13, 2017

The government has struck a further blow to open spaces. We are dismayed that it has introduced additional measures which restrict the ability of local people to register land as a town or village green. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 contains new ‘trigger events’ which prevent the registration of land as town or village…

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