Latest News

Café plans for Bristol Downs abandoned

March 2, 2023

We have welcomed the decision to abandon plans for a café on the downs in Bristol close to the Avon Gorge.  The society criticised the Downs Committee[1] , which put forward the plans, for squandering public money on unlawful and undesirable projects.  Meanwhile the committee is failing adequately to carry out its statutory responsibilities. The Downs…

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Kingsmead Field, Kent 1

Government’s lost chance to achieve levelling up

February 27, 2023

We have lamented the government’s failure to equalise the provision of green spaces for all.  Responding to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the society sets out its priorities for government in a five-point plan. The society wants to see: 1       an improvement in the process…

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Threat to our age-old freedom on Dartmoor

December 13, 2022

A high court case, which opens today, could determine the future enjoyment of wild camping in the Dartmoor National Park. Alexander Darwall, the owner of Stall Moor common on Dartmoor, claims that the right of access under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 does not include the right to wild camp. People have enjoyed this activity…

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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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Autumn crisis

October 26, 2022

Our general secretary Kate Ashbrook reflects on the current attack on the environment. ‘… now it is time unequivocally to act’ wrote Louis MacNeice in Autumn Journal in 1938.  And so it is in this autumn, when government has suddenly made a full-frontal onslaught on the environment, nature, and our enjoyment of them. First there…

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Loss of Longhorsley green refused

October 21, 2022

We have welcomed a decision to retain part of Longhorsley village green, which the parish council wanted to convert to a private driveway. Longhorsley Parish Council wanted to sell off around 54 square metres of Longhorsley green, in this case part of the verge of East Road, in the Northumberland village east of the junction…

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Hertfordshire green to garden gambit rejected

October 21, 2022

We have welcomed a decision to preserve part of Preston recreation ground, in Hertfordshire, which the parish council wanted to convert to a private garden. Preston Parish Council wanted to sell off around 70 square metres of Preston recreation ground, which lies on the west side of Hitchin Road, in the village west of Stevenage. …

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Part of Walmans Green. Photo: OSS

We rescue two lost commons in Hertfordshire

October 6, 2022

We welcome the decision of Hertfordshire County Council, the commons registration authority, to grant our applications to register as common two pieces of land about two miles south-east of Walkern near Stevenage. These commons failed to be finally registered during the three-year period allowed by the Commons Registration Act 1965.  Part 1 of the Commons…

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Manifesto for the next generation

October 5, 2022

We were delighted to be invited to join the Resurgence Summit on 24 September at the Knepp estate in West Sussex. Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, reports on the day. The event was organised by Heal Rewilding, Youngwilders, and Knepp Wildland Foundation. Its aim was to enable young people to discuss public access and nature,…

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Planning undermined

September 29, 2022

The society is deeply concerned about recent government announcements on planning, deregulation and growth.  Our case officer Nicola Hodgson gives an update on the alarming situation. The government’s Growth Plan will damage the environment, public access, and local democracy.  The new policies appear to conflict with the ambitions and targets of the Environment Act, and…

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