Latest News

Bob Embleton / Footpath to Trehumfrey Farm

Covid-19 Update

April 8, 2020

As you will appreciate, given the government’s advice to stay home, our office is closed until further notice. This means that our staff are working remotely and therefore it is no longer possible to reach us by telephone at the usual number, nor shall we be able to open the post. You will find plenty of…

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Blackburn group win support of borough council for new Asset of Community Value

April 1, 2020

A much loved open space at Whitehall Road in Blackburn, has been awarded Asset of Community Value (ACV) status by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council following a campaign by the Whitehall Road Neighbourhood Group.  The benefit of achieving ACV listing is that this becomes a material planning consideration, a matter that should be taken into…

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Commons victory at historic Berkhamsted

March 12, 2020

We are delighted that Hertfordshire County Council has added a piece of Berkhamsted Common to the common-land register.  This will protect a further part of this historic common from development. The land is 0.17 hectares to the north of Britwell Drive, near Berkhamsted Golf Club (about one kilometre north-west of Berkhamsted). The land was subject…

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Cornish common restored

March 5, 2020

Thanks to the painstaking research of our commons re-registration officer in Cornwall, Tomas Hill, we have restored six hectares to the commons register.  The land is at Trevellion Moor, on the west side of Bokiddick Downs and Lowertown Moor, a kilometre west of Helman Tor and three kilometres north of Luxulyan.  The land consists of…

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The rise and fall of village greens

March 5, 2020

The Supreme Court has dealt a bitter blow to communities wanting to protect their open spaces. As a result of a judgment last December concerning two green spaces, in Lancashire and Surrey, it has become much more difficult to protect land and assert rights of recreation on it. Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, follows the…

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Commons past and present – Downley local history group event

March 5, 2020

Our commons re-registration officer Frances Kerner gave an illustrated talk on 29 February 2020 at Downley Memorial Hall entitled, Downley Common, its Origin and Survival within the Manor of West Wycombe. The hall was packed, with 92 people present. Frances’s talk traced the general history of common land, including its survival and loss. As an…

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Government plans could make innocent trespassers into criminals

March 3, 2020

The government’s proposals to strengthen police powers against trespass could make criminals of innocent people visiting the countryside.  We have expressed this fear in our response to the Home Office consultation on the criminalisation of trespass in England and Wales. The Conservative manifesto declared ‘We will make intentional trespass a criminal offence.’  Before this, the…

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Archive progress

February 27, 2020

The Special Collections team at the University of Reading and the Museum of English Rural Life (the MERL) has been working with the society to care for, and to open, our archive to the public and to potential researchers. The completed cataloguing work, and the collected oral histories of key staff members, will reveal our…

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A framework for green space

February 18, 2020

In autumn 2010, the Department for Communities and Local Goverment (DCLG) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) agreed to ‘create a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities’.  However, by April 2011, the government has made no progress whatever in developing its ideas. The Open Spaces…

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Paul Clayden, 5 November 1941 – 1 January 2020

January 28, 2020

We are very sad to report that our vice-president, Paul Clayden, died suddenly aged 78 on new year’s day.  A former general secretary of the society (1976-84) he was the author of many of our books and information sheets, and a kind and helpful adviser to members on their open space issues. Paul was born…

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