Monthly Archives: November 2014

Bypass surgery—a week of political theatre

Thirty years ago today, 27 November 1984, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  It was the end of a frantic seven days.  For, as I wrote in the Open Spaces Society’s magazine Open Space (spring 1985), ‘in an unprecedented series … Continue reading

Posted in Access, Dartmoor, Growth and Infrastructure Act, National parks, Open Spaces Society, parliament, Ramblers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

PM’s piecrust promise

Last Sunday I did a live interview on BBC Wiltshire’s programme Wild About Wiltshire. Before turning to me they played a recording of David Cameron on the BBC’s Countryfile in 2012.    He said: Here we are in West Oxfordshire, … Continue reading

Posted in AONB, green spaces, National parks, parliament | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

An inalienable public service

The daily postal delivery should be an inalienable public service. Just as the National Trust’s inalienable land cannot be bought, sold or mucked about with, so the Royal Mail’s universal service 0bligation, to collect and deliver mail six days a week … Continue reading

Posted in parliament, rural services | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anne of the greensand

Anne Lloyd Jones, who died last month aged 102, always yearned to live on the greensand.  A keen gardener, she found this soil to be the best for her plants.  In her middle life she found her way to the … Continue reading

Posted in Obituary, People, Public paths | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The express train won’t draw up there

Unlike Adlestrop, Swanbourne station in mid-Buckinghamshire won’t have any trains stopping when the line is reopened between Oxford and Bedford. This is a great pity.  It’s a lovely little station, about a mile from the village of Swanbourne, with the platform … Continue reading

Posted in Access, Bucks, Public paths, Ramblers, walking | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The biggest heath in Bucks

Stoke Common, just north of Stoke Poges (of Gray’s Elegy fame), is the biggest heath in Buckinghamshire.  It is less then two miles from Burnham Beeches (see blog), and is owned by the City of London Corporation, but is completely … Continue reading

Posted in Bucks, common land, Public paths | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

No show, no go

As a child I visited Burnham Beeches in Bucks regularly with my parents, sister Sue and dog Elmer.  If Dad was in charge the chances are that we got lost among the beech trees around Egypt, Dad’s sense of direction not being great.  Those … Continue reading

Posted in Bucks, common land, Woods and forests | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

O sylvan Wye

—Once again Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, Which on a wild secluded scene impress Thoughs of more deep seclusion; and connect The landscape with the quiet of the sky. From Lines written a few miles above Tintern … Continue reading

Posted in National trail, Public paths, Wales, Walkers Are Welcome Towns, walking | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Loss at Larkhill

Thirty years ago today, on 6 November 1984, a public inquiry opened in Devizes.  It was to investigate the Ministry of Defence’s plans to close 32 miles of public paths across the Larkhill artillery ranges in Wiltshire.  I was there … Continue reading

Posted in Access, British Horse Society, campaigns, Open Spaces Society, Public paths, Ramblers, riding, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

In the steps of the navvies

In February 1866 the trustees of Lord Brownlow’s estate enclosed part of Berkhamsted Common in the Hertfordshire Chilterns with iron railings, unlawfully excluding those with common rights, and the local inhabitants who traditionally visited the common and cut fern and gorse for use … Continue reading

Posted in Access, common land, common rights, International Association for the Study of the Commons, National Trust, Open Spaces Society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment