Dorchester on Thames village hall was crammed. People poured in, from Dorchester, Little Wittenham and the surrounding communities in south Oxfordshire, to pledge their support for the fight to save their open spaces and paths.
There were not enough chairs, many of the 180 present had to stand. They heard from Dorchester resident Becky Waller and me (for the Open Spaces Society) about how they can assert their rights which are being challenged by the landowner, Andrew Reid, with his fencing on land between Dorchester and the River Thames.
We explained how they can register their open spaces as village greens and protect their paths. Some of the landowner’s lackies were lurking at the back of the hall. They will have something to tell Mr Reid—that he is in for a bitter fight if he persists.
The meeting was extremely well organised. After our explanations, the group handed out evidence questionnaires for people to confirm their use of Dyke Hills and Day’s Lock Meadow for informal recreation. Many took questionnaires to give to friends who walk regularly in the area. At the end we answered questions and people left feeling upbeat.
Once the evidence has been gathered, the campaigners will submit the village green applications to Oxfordshire County Council and consider applying to record some of the blocked paths which have been omitted from the definitive map.
With such a phalanx of feisty opponents, Mr Reid had better look out.