Open Spaces

The open spaces we champion come in all shapes and sizes and can be in the countryside or in towns.
Is the local open space you love and use protected? Don’t take it for granted!

 

How can you defend the open and green spaces that matter to you?

One of the most effective ways for you to stand up for your right to use a local open space is to join the Open Spaces Society. As a charity, we depend on public donations to fund our vital campaigning and legal work.

As a member, you can count on the support of our expert team based at our head office in Henley-on-Thames. Depending on where you live, you may also have a local Open Spaces Society correspondent (our name for volunteer) who may be able to help you. Find out if you have a local correspondent here

What is an open space?

The open spaces we champion come in all shapes and sizes. They can be in the countryside but also in towns.

They are usually spaces people have chosen to use for recreation, whether formal or informal.

The open spaces we are asked to defend often comprise land where the public has a right to wander such as a local green space, or an open space that has no legal protection but which people use.

It could be a stretch of grass where children play, local people go blackberry picking or to enjoy a picnic.

But just because you use it doesn’t mean it’s protected unless you do something about it. Read about some of our campaigning work to protect open spaces here.

Is the local open space you love and use protected? Don’t take it for granted.

Download our toolkit below and find out how to protect your local green space

Rally at Panshanger Park, Hertfordshireshire, in 2015.

Get our toolkit

As part of our campaign to save England’s much-loved open spaces, we have published an open spaces toolkit consisting of three handbooks:

How to win local green space through neighbourhood plans
Community assets and protecting open space
Local Green Space Designation

Further resources about Open Spaces

  • Neighbourhood Planning and Protecting Open Spaces

    Neighbourhood planning gives communities in England the opportunity and power to set local planning policies.

  • Funding boost for neighbourhood planning groups

    The government announced in August 2020 that they would increase the basic grant and the level of support available to planning groups in both urban and deprived areas.

  • Driving and parking on your local green space

    Residents often want to be able to stop cars, motorcycles, and even lorries and other large vehicles, from being driven and parked on their local open space for various reasons.

  • Community Assets & Protecting Open Space

    We tell you how to make use of the community asset process to protect your local open space.

  • Vehicular access across Common Land and Town or Village Greens

    This provides guidance about vehicular access across common land and town or village greens following the repeal of section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

  • How to win local green space through neighbourhood plans

    Neighbourhood planning gives communities in England the opportunity and power to set local planning policies. You can shape the place where you live and protect valued open spaces using the local green space designation.

  • A charter for England's open spaces

    Read our August 2020 charter for the promotion and protection of open spaces so that everyone in England can benefit.

  • Protecting commons, greens and open spaces training course

    Learn the fundamentals on this comprehensive course to include definitions, registration/designation, protection and management.

  • By-laws for village greens, commons and open spaces

    By-laws are rules made by a local authority or certain other public bodies under an enabling Act of Parliament, for the regulation, administration or management of a specific area.

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Open Spaces

    Common questions about open spaces

  • Government Guidance - Public Access and Rights of Way in England

    Insider hacks: three Government publications that will help you to protect public access and rights of way.

  • Local Green Space Designation

    The Local Green Space designation (LGS)  protects local green areas of particular importance to local communities.

  • A framework for green space

    A proposal to create a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities

Our latest posts on Open Spaces

This Christmas, paths and open spaces matter – now more than ever

The Covid-19 pandemic, homeworking, the climate emergency, refugee crisis, and COP26 events in the past year have made for a challenging, harrowing but thought-provoking 12 months. Most of us have had cause to reflect on our lifestyles, values and priorities. Many will continue to look outside their homes or work-place to gain solace and conjure…
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Darvel Down green, Battle, East Sussex

We back bid for new greens in Battle, East Sussex

We are backing our member, Mr Bev Marks, who is spearheading a campaign to protect Battle’s green spaces for ever, by registering them as town or village greens. Bev has proposed to Battle Town Council that it persuade the owners of four green spaces voluntarily to register them as greens. The spaces have been earmarked…
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The Environment Act—a mixed bag

Our case officer, Nicola Hodgson, analyses the new Environment Act and finds it wanting. While we welcome the new Environment Act, we consider it to be a missed opportunity for public health and well-being. We tried to win legally-binding targets for public access but the government rejected our proposed amendments. The act gives many more…
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The Hanwell fence being removed. Photo used with permission of CRT.

Access regained

Residents of Hanwell in Ealing, west London, have returned part of their park to public access. Our member Steven Toft tells the story. A fence was erected around a piece of the Brent River Park by the Hobbayne Trust (OS summer 2020 page 9) which claimed to own the land. The fence was partly removed…
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