Latest News

Blackburn group win support of borough council for new Asset of Community Value

March 26, 2020

A much loved open space at Whitehall Road in Blackburn, Lancashire has been awarded Asset of Community Value (ACV) status by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council following a campaign by the Whitehall Road Neighbourhood Group. We provided advice to our members Victoria and Tony Harris on the group’s application to the council as part of…

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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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Bob Embleton / Footpath to Trehumfrey Farm

Covid-19 Update

March 26, 2020

26 March 2020 As you will appreciate, given the government’s advice to stay home, our office is closed until further notice. This means that our staff are working remotely and therefore it is no longer possible to reach us by telephone at the usual number, nor shall we be able to open the post. You will…

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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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Cornish common restored

March 5, 2020

Thanks to the painstaking research of our commons re-registration officer in Cornwall, Tomas Hill, we have restored six hectares to the commons register.  The land is at Trevellion Moor, on the west side of Bokiddick Downs and Lowertown Moor, a kilometre west of Helman Tor and three kilometres north of Luxulyan.  The land consists of…

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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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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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Archive progress

February 27, 2020

The Special Collections team at the University of Reading and the Museum of English Rural Life (the MERL) has been working with the society to care for, and to open, our archive to the public and to potential researchers. The completed cataloguing work, and the collected oral histories of key staff members, will reveal our…

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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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A framework for green space

February 18, 2020

In autumn 2010, the Department for Communities and Local Goverment (DCLG) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) agreed to ‘create a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities’.  However, by April 2011, the government has made no progress whatever in developing its ideas. The Open Spaces…

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