Latest News

Green spaces, open places

April 14, 2021

The Open Spaces Society’s call to candidates in the Senedd election, 6 May 2021. The pandemic has shown the importance of public paths and open spaces for recreation and relaxation, now is the time to invest in them for the health and well-being of the people of Wales. The Open Spaces Society[1] calls on candidates…

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Welsh Government agriculture law must step up for access

April 6, 2021

The Welsh Government’s consultation paper on the future funding for agriculture fails to spell out how subsidies will be directed to securing more and better access, and how grants will be withheld from land managers who abuse the law on public paths and access.  We argued for these objectives in our response to the earlier…

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Tony on Trawden recreation ground with Pendle Hill behind, Christmas day family meet-up outdoors, 2020

Tony Greaves (27 July 1942-23 March 2021)

April 6, 2021

We are deeply saddened that our vice-president, Tony (Lord) Greaves, has died suddenly at his home at Trawden in Lancashire. He was 78. Tony was a Liberal Democrat peer and Pendle Borough Councillor, who spoke out strongly on behalf of the environment and people’s rights. He entered the House of Lords as a life peer…

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Countryside Code’s seventieth anniversary

April 1, 2021

The Open Spaces Society’s involvement with the Countryside Code precedes its first publication, as the Country Code, in 1951. In fact, with the Ramblers, we instigated it. The society has always wanted to see greater access to the countryside and everyone to feel welcome there. In 1945 we noted that one of the difficulties we…

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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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We criticise sinister Police Bill

March 15, 2021

Along with 250 other organisations, we have signed an open letter to the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary calling on government to rethink the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which has its second reading on 15 and 16 March, having been introduced to parliament only days before. The bill creates numerous new criminal offences,…

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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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EU protection for Welsh commons

February 23, 2021

At the last minute before Brexit was completed the Welsh Government followed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in applying environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations to common land. This means that if a development proposal affecting a Welsh common is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, it must be assessed…

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Long Mynd, Shropshire Hills

Celebrating upland commons

February 16, 2021

Thanks to National Lottery players some of our best loved places in the uplands of England will be better looked after.  A partnership of 24 organisations, including the society, will empower those who graze common land, the commoners, to manage them better to restore peat, create habitats for birds and butterflies, and improve the quality…

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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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