Latest News

Battlemead Common with view of Cliveden which can be seen from the proposed path

We calls for creation of final link for Maidenhead trail

August 3, 2021

We have called on Windsor and Maidenhead Council to incorporate a permanent, direct path across Battlemead Common, on the north-east side of Maidenhead, into the popular Maidenhead Millennium Walk. Currently walkers are denied access across this magnificent open space and forced to walk around the edge.  The land is owned by the council. The Millennium…

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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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Ronald Smith: 14 March 1923 – 25 February 2021

April 27, 2021

Our vice-president Ronald Smith has died aged 97.  He was our treasurer from 1989 to 1995, and we elected him as a vice-president in 2010 in place of his wife Margaret who died that year.  He was also our representative on both the Hampstead Heath Management and Consultative Committees. Ronald was born in Hendon in…

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photo of Freemans Meadow (c) N Chadwick, Creative Commons Licence

Henley Town Council shows lead in creating village greens

April 8, 2021

‘Henley-on-Thames Town Council has set an excellent example in registering its land as village greens[1] and thus protecting it for ever.’  So declared Kate Ashbrook, the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, in an online talk to Henley Rotary Club on Tuesday (2 March). ‘The council, which is a member of the society, has…

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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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Blackbushe airfield stays common land

March 18, 2021

The court of appeal has dismissed a move by Blackbushe Airport Ltd (BAL) to remove the airfield from the register of common land.[1]  The court refused to overturn the decision of the High Court that the land must remain registered as part of Yateley Common.  That decision was defended by Hampshire County Council and the…

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New public freedoms at Dorchester on Thames, Oxon

March 15, 2021

We are celebrating new greens and paths at Dorchester on Thames in Oxfordshire, after a long campaign which we fought alongside local residents. A new landowner, Mr Keith Ives, has removed fences erected by his predecessor.  These denied public access to the historic Dyke Hills, a scheduled Iron Age settlement, and Day’s Lock Meadow beside…

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View across Chesham Bois Common, Buckinghamshire

Chesham Bois Common saved from degradation

March 9, 2021

We are delighted that a damaging plan to create a tarmac, vehicular accessway on Chesham Bois Common in the Buckinghamshire Chilterns has been withdrawn in the face of objections. Last year St Leonard’s Church Parochial Church Council applied for planning permission for an accessway to the parish centre as part of a larger development comprising…

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The Villagers, about two years ago, with the entrance to the car park. Photo: Peter Trimming, Creative Commons Licence.

We help to save Surrey common from enclosure

February 15, 2021

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has refused consent to the Hon Peter Herbert for fencing and a gate across part of Blackheath Common in Surrey.  Blackheath is four miles south-east of Guildford in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Peter Herbert, lord of the manor, wanted to erect…

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Port Meadow, Oxfordshire

Hook Norton learns about common land

February 11, 2021

‘Common land is frequently misunderstood.’  So declared our commons re-registration officer, Frances Kerner, who gave an illustrated online talk ‘What is Common Land?’ to the Hook Norton Local History Group in north Oxfordshire on 2 February. ‘The word “common” does not mean that the land is commonly owned.  Like all land in England and Wales…

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