Latest News

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…

Read More

We appoint Devon paths-expert to new role

July 27, 2021

The society has appointed Devon paths-expert Helen Clayton to the new post of case officer (rights of way). The society created this post to address the increasing number of issues concerning public paths in England and Wales. Helen will champion public paths for the society, and respond to the many issues raised by its members,…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More

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…

Read More
Illustrative photo of the mast from the developer’s design and access statement

We fight ugly mast on Pumlumon common

June 22, 2021

We have objected to plans for an ugly mast on Eisteddfa Gurig Common, on the slopes of Pumlumon in Ceredigion. The society is supporting the Cambrian Mountains Society (CMS) which has also submitted a strong objection. Lluest y Gwynt Wind Farm Ltd applied for an 80-metre-high, steel, meteorological monitoring mast and associated paraphernalia, for three…

Read More

Planning to grant a green?

June 15, 2021

Grant a Green On 26 April we launched our Grant a Green campaign, calling on local councils in England and Wales voluntarily to register their open spaces as town or village greens. Registration will give local people rights of recreation on the land and protect it from development. Now is the time to secure our…

Read More