Open Spaces Society news release from meeting

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Below is a news release from the Open Spaces Society since the meeting in our village hall last week.


The village hall at Dorchester on Thames in Oxfordshire was packed on Tuesday evening (10 January) for the launch of the village’s campaign to preserve the footpaths and open access to the historic Dyke Hills and Day’s Lock Meadow close to the River Thames.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Henley-based Open Spaces Society,(1) which backs the campaign, and Dorchester resident Becky Waller spoke at the 180-strong public meeting. They called on residents of Dorchester, Little Wittenham and other nearby villages to join the crusade.

A new landowner, UKIP’s former treasurer Mr Andrew Reid of Bishop’s Court Farm, has erected fencing across paths which people have used for decades; he has enclosed footpaths and restricted access to popular open spaces.

Local people are gathering evidence of use of green spaces at the eastern end of the ancient Dyke Hills and by the Thames at Day’s Lock Meadow, to apply for them to be registered as village greens. This would protect the land for ever and give local people legal rights of recreation there.(2)

They will also apply for paths to be added to Oxfordshire County Council’s official map of public paths and thus recognised as public highways.

Said Kate Ashbrook: ‘We deplore the mass of ugly fencing which has been festooned across the paths and green spaces in this beautiful landscape, and we welcome the campaign to record people’s long-held rights to enjoy these historic paths and spaces alongside the River Thames.

‘We look forward to helping the local people to record their rights so that they are protected for ever more.’

1 The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.

2 Town and village greens can be any land which has been enjoyed by local people for 20 years, without being stopped or asking permission. Once registered with the county council the land is protected by section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876, and local people have rights of recreation there.


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Posted on January 16, 2017 in Rights of Way

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