Latest News

Books make great Christmas presents

December 11, 2017

Do you know someone who loves the outdoors, perhaps enjoys walking, riding or cycling in our countryside, on coastal paths or in urban parks or green spaces? OSS has written, curated and sponsored a range of publications on topics including a history of public paths, how to register and protect a village green and an…

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Paths to oblivion

November 13, 2017

Thirty years ago (3 September 1987) we were present at the launch of the Countryside Commission’s far-reaching policies and priorities for enjoying the countryside, writes our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook. Top priority was to have the entire rights-of-way network ‘legally defined, maintained and available for use before the end of the [last] century’ with up-to-date…

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Our new book to celebrate public paths

October 31, 2017

We have published a new book, Public Paths, which is an exploration of the origins of ancient tracks, droves, bridleways and footpaths which make Britain unique. It is written by our chairman, Graham Bathe. At a time of austerity, the opportunity to use and enjoy public paths has never been more important. Walking is the…

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A commons’ conference companion

May 30, 2017

The Countryside and Community Research Institute of Gloucester University (CCRI) has published a Commons e-book which is a compilation of blogs written at or about the biennial global conferences of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC).    You can download it here. The book is written by John Powell and Chris Short…

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Post Brexit: we want more access and better landscapes

April 15, 2017

‘We must make sure post-Brexit agricultural payments are used to improve public access and the landscape, so that places like the South Downs National Park will benefit.’ So said our general secretary Kate Ashbrook at the rally to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the South Downs National Park, in Midhurst, West Sussex on Saturday 15…

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Defra’s ‘consultation’ on Natural England’s outdoor research is a sham

November 4, 2016

We have slated the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for its sham consultation into Natural England’s long-standing research on people and the natural environment. The results are published today (4 November) but Defra states that the changes have already gone ahead—before the consultation period even closed. The research, ‘Monitor of Engagement with…

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The Fight For Beauty

May 16, 2016

In her newly-published book, The Fight for Beauty, Dame Fiona Reynolds, writes about the things that really make life worth living – a vision for our environment, our society and our future. Dame Fiona, a former Director-General of the National Trust, offers a path to a better future for us all. Her book can be…

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Commons – global and local

March 3, 2016

The Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) of the University of Gloucestershire has published its new book, Commons—Governance of Shared Assets, coinciding nicely with World Book Day. It can be downloaded as a pdf  or as epub from the university’s website. The book is a collection of recent blog posts on the CCRI website, centred on…

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Our new book to celebrate village greens

February 29, 2016

We have published a new book, Village Greens, to celebrate the fascinating village greens of England and Wales.  It is written by our chairman, Graham Bathe. The book appears at a time when our green spaces have never been more threatened—by development, sale by local authorities, commercial abuse, neglect and lack of funding.  Yet paradoxically…

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New funding initiative to create ‘pocket parks’

November 10, 2015

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced a new programme that supports communities to work with local authorities and other partners to establish a pocket park. Pocket Parks are envisaged as small areas of inviting public space where people can enjoy relief from the hustle and bustle of city streets DCLG is…

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