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.

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

Our latest posts on Open Spaces

Secret deal on the Downs

We have supported the Downs for People in Bristol in its exposure of a secret deal between Bristol City Councillors and the Merchant Venturers to allow Bristol Zoo to continue to use the magnificent Durdham Downs for car parking until 2039.  The society has opposed the parking for many years; the council’s renewal of the…
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Threat withdrawn to ancient road in South Downs National Park

We are delighted that Mr Hugh Sandie of Pegs and Pitches Camping has withdrawn his planning application for a campsite and buildings near Coldwaltham, West Sussex, in the South Downs National Park. The society objected to the development arguing that it conflicted with the purposes of the national park and would have an adverse impact…
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Vocal for local

Our general secretary Kate Ashbrook considers life for the Open Spaces Society during lockdown. As lockdown began, I foolishly thought we would have time to catch up with all those long-deferred jobs.  I was wrong: we have been busier than ever. Developers are not deterred by a pandemic: open spaces remain at risk, perhaps more…
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Bob Embleton / Footpath to Trehumfrey Farm

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

We thank you for visiting our website and hope that you remain safe and well. Our office is only partially staffed at the moment, so responding to telephone calls or postal enquiries will take a little longer than usual, however you will find plenty of information and advice on this website, and we can readily…
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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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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