Latest News

newly registered Batchworth Heath common

We secure common land at Batchworth Heath, Hertfordshire

April 21, 2020

We are celebrating Hertfordshire County Council’s addition of 1.66 hectares of Batchworth Heath, near Rickmansworth, to the common-land register thus securing the public’s right to walk and ride here and protecting the land from development. Common is land, originally, with rights of common, to graze animals or collect wood for instance, dating back to pre-mediaeval…

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Welsh government allows closure of some paths and access land

March 26, 2020

The Welsh government has introduced emergency legislation which enabled certain bodies to close identified public paths and access land because they create a risk of spreading coronavirus. The bodies had to close the paths by noon on 25 March 2020. The bodies (known as ‘relevant bodies’) entitled to do this are: county or county borough…

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Commons victory at historic Berkhamsted

March 12, 2020

We are delighted that Hertfordshire County Council has added a piece of Berkhamsted Common to the common-land register.  This will protect a further part of this historic common from development. The land is 0.17 hectares to the north of Britwell Drive, near Berkhamsted Golf Club (about one kilometre north-west of Berkhamsted). The land was subject…

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

March 8, 2020

We thank you for visiting our website and hope that you remain safe and well. The society team is working as usual during lockdown allbeit remotely. With our physical office running on a skeleton staff, responding to postal enquiries will take a much longer than usual and we would ask you not to telephone if…

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The rise and fall of village greens

March 5, 2020

The Supreme Court has dealt a bitter blow to communities wanting to protect their open spaces. As a result of a judgment last December concerning two green spaces, in Lancashire and Surrey, it has become much more difficult to protect land and assert rights of recreation on it. Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, follows the…

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Commons past and present – Downley local history group event

March 5, 2020

Our commons re-registration officer Frances Kerner gave an illustrated talk on 29 February 2020 at Downley Memorial Hall entitled, Downley Common, its Origin and Survival within the Manor of West Wycombe. The hall was packed, with 92 people present. Frances’s talk traced the general history of common land, including its survival and loss. As an…

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Government plans could make innocent trespassers into criminals

March 3, 2020

The government’s proposals to strengthen police powers against trespass could make criminals of innocent people visiting the countryside.  We have expressed this fear in our response to the Home Office consultation on the criminalisation of trespass in England and Wales. The Conservative manifesto declared ‘We will make intentional trespass a criminal offence.’  Before this, the…

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Slow the traffic on unfenced commons

February 25, 2020

‘Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons on the Cotswold escarpment in Gloucestershire are unique—and we need to slow the traffic there.’  So declared Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary,  at a public meeting called by the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee last week (20 February). ‘All common land is special because it is a remnant of the…

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Open Spaces Society to advise Welsh Access Reform Group

January 28, 2020

The Welsh Government is looking at the future of access in Wales, following the consultation in 2017 and the subsequent announcement that it would set up an Access Reform Group. It has also established three expert groups to inform the Access Reform Group and invited expressions of interest. We are delighted to report that the…

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Is your DMMO application eligible for a BHS grant?

January 22, 2020

Are you engaged in researching historical ways to add to the definitive map before the 2026 cut-off date? The British Horse Society (BHS) is offering expenses of £100 to anyone who applies to a local authority to record a bridleway, restricted byway or byway open to all traffic — or to upgrade a footpath or…

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