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February 8, 2013


I have in my possession a well-thumbed, faded-green volume, to which I have referred many times. It is a learned commentary on the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 by R N Hutchins (Butterworths, 1950) and a foreword by the eminent king’s counsel, and first chairman of the Standing Committee on National Parks, Sir Norman Birkett.

The 1949 act was seminal because it gave us not only national parks, nature reserves and areas of outstanding natural beauty, but definitive maps of rights of way, the beginnings of access to open country, and long-distance paths (now national trails).

Richard (Dick) Hutchins has died aged 97 on 19 January 2013. He leaves a significant legacy beyond his invaluable reference book. He was a lawyer with a huge love of the countryside, public paths, walking and access and, as assistant solicitor to Derbyshire County Council, he was responsible for the county’s survey…

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