Latest News

Our general secretary opens Nottingham’s historic town trail

September 24, 2021

On Sunday 26 September our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, will open Nottingham’s Victorian Town Trail. The five-mile route has been devised by the Friends of the Forest with Nottingham City Council to mark and celebrate the 130 acres of open space won by the people of Nottingham when land was inclosed under the Inclosure Act…

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Winter Hill trespass a milestone, but still a long way to go

September 3, 2021

The Winter Hill mass demo in 1896 was a milestone in the history of public access—but we still have a long way to go.’  So declares our general secretary Kate Ashbrook, who will speak on 5 September at the 125th anniversary event of the Winter Hill mass trespass.  Kate also spoke at the centenary event…

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We join Worthing Downlanders to celebrate public-access victory

August 17, 2021

Five years on, campaigners celebrated the success of open access to Worthing’s incomparable downland in the South Downs National Park.  They held a reunion rally on Sunday 15 August and made a video which includes our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook. We backed the Worthing Downlanders’ campaign from 2009 to 2015, firstly to stop Worthing Borough…

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We support Climate Cymru – voices for Wales

July 27, 2021

Climate Cymru is a campaign working for meaningful, evidence-based and fair action to protect the Wales we love from the climate and nature emergency. The campaign wants to make sure the voices of ordinary people from all over the country are heard by the people in power. Climate Cymru is aiming to take 50,000 voices…

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Little comfort from updated planning policies

July 22, 2021

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published an updated version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). There are six main changes but we are disappointed that the revisions do not reflect the submission we made on the consultation. Says our case officer Nicola Hodgson: ‘We remain concerned that the government’s…

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Attendees at the event on 15 July

The Downs are for people, not for cars

July 21, 2021

A celebration of success after 25 years of campaigning On 15 July our general secretary Kate Ashbrook and case officer Hugh Craddock joined group member, Downs for People[1] (DfP), for a celebration of the success in its recent court case challenging the secret grant of a twenty-year licence for zoo parking.  As well as putting…

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Police on Wanstead Flats July 1871. Credit Essex Field Club

Saving ‘the People’s Forest’ – a forgotten anniversary

July 13, 2021

This is a year of anniversaries to celebrate in the contests over open spaces around London; 150 years ago, and after long local struggles in each case, legislation was passed preserving Hampstead Heath and Wandsworth Common from development, campaigns in which the Commons Preservation Society (CPS, and the forerunner of the Open Spaces Society) played…

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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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Hampstead Heath in summer

Hampstead Heath’s milestone Act of Parliament

June 29, 2021

Today, 29 June, is the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act 1871, which empowered the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) to purchase the Heath for the people.  Now the Heath belongs to the City of London Corporation and is managed for the benefit of the public. We are proud to have played a major…

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Government’s response to Glover Review is lacklustre

June 24, 2021

The Open Spaces Society is disappointed at the government’s initial response to the Glover Review on England’s protected landscapes.  This response is long overdue. The report, written by a panel led by Julian Glover, contains ambitious proposals.  It was published in September 2019 and the then environment secretary, Theresa Villiers, welcomed the findings.  Today the…

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