Latest News

Public rights of way blocked in 32,000 places

January 14, 2024

We’re shocked that walkers are finding public paths in England and Wales blocked in nearly 32,000 places—that’s one obstruction every four and a half miles, and they are getting worse. As Britain’s oldest national conservation body, we’ve been campaigning to protect footpaths, bridleways and byways – as well as other open spaces – since 1865,…

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Coffey kowtows to landowners and destroys public-path consensus

October 25, 2023

We are dismayed that the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has destroyed the 2010 consensus for the future of public paths. This consensus was forged by a stakeholder working group (SWG) set up to advise government. It is composed of experienced members reflecting the interests of users, local authorities, and landowners. Dr Coffey has cherry-picked from…

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Doughty Diane Andrewes, is elected our vice-president

July 7, 2023

Our annual general meeting has elected activist Diane Andrewes as one of our vice-presidents.  Diane, a resident of Bursledon, south Hampshire, since 1964, has been a member of the society for more than 30 years. She served as a trustee from 1993-1995, 2007-09, and 2012-2018. Diane is a founder member of the Bursledon Rights of…

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Time for a new manifesto for public access

April 24, 2023

‘It is time for a new manifesto for public access in town and country,’ said Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary. Kate was giving the keynote speech at the event to mark the 91st anniversary of the mass trespass on Kinder Scout on 24 April 1932.  The celebrations were held at Hayfield village hall, Derbyshire, at…

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Open spaces and paths: a new guide to protection

March 14, 2023

Introducing a new guide to help local councils protect precious green spaces and paths, Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary, says: ‘Often town, parish and community councils (local councils) are unaware of all the extensive powers they have to deal with problems on open spaces and paths. ‘These powers are scattered in different and sometimes obscure…

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Rangers Cottage, Ewhurst Road, Peaslake

Peaslake village alleyway saved

February 27, 2023

A threat to deregister common land in Peaslake, Surrey, has been withdrawn after we led opposition to the proposal. Application had been made to the council by the proprietors of Ranger’s Cottage, Ewhurst Road, Peaslake (which is six miles south-east of Guildford in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) to remove from the…

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This Christmas, paths and open spaces matter- now more than ever

October 31, 2022

The climate emergency and the government’s recent onslaught on the environment, nature, and our enjoyment of them, highlight the importance of the outdoors for our health and well-being, and for growth.  Now more than ever we must keep fighting for village greens, commons, rights of way and for public access to open spaces for everyone…

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Chas Townley on Rodborough Common

Our new activist in Gloucestershire

October 3, 2022

We have appointed Chas Townley as our local correspondent for Stroud District in Gloucestershire. Chas lives in Stroud and is a retired social-housing manager and former Stroud District and Town councillor.  He has been working on the registration of unrecorded rights of ways in Stroud and surrounding parishes.  As a result, 27 applications have been…

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Thomas Hardy paths reopened

June 7, 2022

Our member Tony Fincham has achieved success in a long campaign to get two obstructed paths reopened at Stinsford, a mile east of Dorchester in Dorset. Tony is a vice-president of the Thomas Hardy Society and regularly leads walks for the society in the vicinity of Hardy’s home at Stinsford.  He has found two paths…

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Newly recorded track in Norfolk

2026 Guillotine for historic ways is to be abolished

February 17, 2022

We are delighted that the government is to scrap the 2026 deadline for recording historic paths in England.  This deadline has, for more than 20 years, threatened our unique path-network. The deadline meant that on 1 January 2026, public rights over thousands of paths, which are public highways but not yet recorded as such, or…

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