Latest News

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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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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Lancaster green space saved for the community

February 24, 2020

We are delighted that Lancashire County Council has agreed to register Freeman’s Wood as a town green, thus saving it from development. The nine-hectare site is an open field surrounded by woodland next to the Lune industrial estate on the west side of Lancaster. Originally a waste tip for the former linoleum factory, it has…

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Kingsmead Field, Canterbury, is made a village green

January 23, 2020

Canterbury City Council has dedicated three acres of Kingsmead Field in Kent as a village green. Kent County Council approved the registration last month. Now that the land is registered it is protected from development and local people have rights of recreation here. Canterbury City Council agreed to dedicate the land in return for a…

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Our general secretary wins bronze award

January 16, 2020

Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, has won bronze in The Great Outdoors magazine’s Campaigner of the Year Award, following a vote from members of the public. Described by one voter as ‘inspirational in her constant drive to keep footpaths open’, Kate came third to environmental campaigners Greta Thunberg and Chris Packham. Says Kate: ‘I am…

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Supreme Court overrides rights of local communities on village greens

December 12, 2019

We have expressed deep sympathy for our members, Janine Bebbington and the Moorside Fields Community Group in Lancaster, following the Supreme Court judgment(1) on 11 December rejecting the registration of the fields as a village green.  See our summary of the judgment here. This will have a huge impact on the ability of local communities…

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Missed opportunity to protect open spaces in Wales

November 14, 2019

We have responded to the Welsh government’s consultation on its National Development Framework (NDF) and raised concerns about the impact on the landscape and tourism, and the missed opportunities for protecting open space. The NDF is a new development plan which will set the direction for development in Wales from 2020 to 2040.  It contains…

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The Ethical Gift

November 10, 2019

Would you like to find a present for outdoorsy friends or family with a conscience? Ethical and environmentally friendly gifts are increasingly popular and rightly so. The Open Spaces Society is a small charity that fights to conserve and promote our environment by seeking protection for paths and open spaces, so that everyone can enjoy…

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Our case officer Nicola Hodgson celebrates 20 years with Open Spaces Society

November 7, 2019

In 1999, solicitor Nicola Hodgson was instructed by Sunningwell Parish Council, in Oxfordshire, to register a piece of land as a village green – thereby preventing two new houses being built on the site which had, for decades, been popular with families and dog walkers. The case went to the House of Lords, resulting in…

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Bullies beware!

October 31, 2019

Through our 154-year history, the Open Spaces Society has developed a proud record of legal action. We fought the enclosures, and defended commoners’ rights; we have tested the law in the courts many times. We have suffered losses, but we also have landmark victories to our name. One such victory was our challenge to Dorset…

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