Latest News

Happy Christmas 2020

December 22, 2020

Watch our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook’s Christmas 2020 message.

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Our new watchdog for Market Harborough

December 3, 2020

We have appointed Peter Pollak as local correspondent for Market Harborough District in Leicestershire.  Peter will keep a close watch on paths, commons, greens and other open spaces in the area and will intervene when they are threatened. Peter was an Engineer Surveyor for the insurance business.  During that time, he undertook surveys of local…

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Livestock diversions

November 10, 2020

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the Tenant Farmers’ Assocation and the Countryside Alliance have asked Defra Ministers to legislate to facilitate farmer-managed diversions on public paths to avoid cattle and other livestock. The Ramblers’ website offers a good summary of the position. The society has attended meetings with the CLA…

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Looking north-west over the new green towards the RCV estate

We win new green and new path for Witney

November 10, 2020

We have won a new town green and public footpath for the people of Witney in west Oxfordshire.  These public amenities are on land at Coral Springs, between Thorney Leys and the A40, which four years ago was developed by Richmond Care Villages (RCV). In building an estate of retirement homes RCV illegally blocked a…

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Our new activist for the Isle of Wight

November 10, 2020

We have appointed Mrs Helen Slade as our local correspondent for the Isle of Wight.  Helen, who lives in Ventnor, will be the society’s eyes and ears, keeping a close watch on paths, commons, greens, open spaces and the progress of the coastal path on the Island, and intervening as necessary. Helen has recently retired…

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Misdeeds and no deeds

October 27, 2020

On 28 September the Prime Minister pledged to protect an additional 400,000 hectares (1,562 square miles) of England’s countryside to support ‘the recovery of nature’.  A fine promise but what does it mean? The recovery of nature is immensely important, so too is the recovery of people.  The pandemic has shown the value of local…

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Agricultural grants must be properly enforced

September 8, 2020

We have criticised as weak and ineffective the government’s proposals for monitoring and enforcing compliance with agricultural grants.   In its consultation, Financial Assistance Statutory Instrument, the government proposes to monitor the use of public funds for delivering public goods as part of the new agricultural grant programme post Brexit.  However, it only proposes to…

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Minister refuses to extend deadline for registering common land

September 3, 2020

We are dismayed that environment minister John Gardiner has refused to extend the deadline for re-registering lost commons beyond the end of December 2020. The society is concerned that, in seven English local authority areas1, the deadline for registering lost commons is 31 December, less than four months away.  The research to uncover lost commons…

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Expanding our freedoms

August 21, 2020

The Open Spaces Society has long campaigned for responsible freedom to roam away from public paths in England and Wales.  The Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 went some way towards achieving this, but the rights were only for walkers and were limited to registered commons, and mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath…

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Boost for Neighbourhood Planning Groups

August 13, 2020

Following the launch earlier this month of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s  Planning for the Future consultation, funding in the form of grants made to community groups involved with shaping their local planning policy  is set to almost double. Government grants to individual neighbourhood planning groups in both urban and deprived areas…

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