New public freedoms at Dorchester on Thames, Oxon

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We are celebrating new greens and paths at Dorchester on Thames in Oxfordshire, after a long campaign which we fought alongside local residents.

Dorchester on Thames, Oxon. The Dyke Hills with the new landowner, Keith Ives (centre). Louise Aukland (left) and Becky Waller (right) submitted an application for this to be registered as a village green

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 the River Thames, cut off an unrecorded path and restricted the width of others.  Local people formed a pressure group and campaigned vigorously to get the land registered as village green and the paths recorded on the definitive map.  The society offered support and advice.

Happily, Mr Ives has agreed voluntarily to register the Dyke Hills and the meadow as village greens, giving local people rights to enjoy them and protecting them for ever.  He has also removed the fences across and alongside the paths, allowing much greater access.

Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We are proud to have helped save people’s access to this unique prehistoric landscape.  We congratulate the residents for their perseverance and determination, and we thank Mr Ives most warmly for his community spirit and generosity.  It is wonderful to have free access restored to this beautiful place.’

Declares Becky Waller of the Friends of Dorchester and Little Wittenham Open Spaces: ‘Keith Ives bought Bishops Court Farm at Dorchester in Thames intending to restore it to the heart of the community.  We are incredibly grateful for his generosity and absolutely delighted that public access to these precious open spaces is secured and the footpaths widened.  This truly is a good news story.’

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