The book appears at a time when green spaces are under dire threat from development, sale and lack of funding. But the book argues they have never been more important for informal recreation and games, and as a boost to health and well-being in an increasingly urban world.
The book tells the story of greens through history, explains their distribution, variety and different uses, and records their festivities and wildlife. It gives an outline of the laws which protect greens and encourages readers to think about creating new greens for the future.
Bathe commented: "There can be few more evocative images than the traditional village green. Greens have been part of our history for over a thousand years as places of recreation and celebration.
"I hope that people will enjoy reading about the fascinating story of our greens, and exploring the opportunities that still exist today to establish and protect village greens."
Village greens are, in law, land on which local people have enjoyed informal recreation, without being stopped or asking permission, for at least 20 years. There are an estimated 3,650 registered village greens in England and 22 in Wales.
The Open Spaces Society advises its members and the public on how to apply to register land as a village green, to secure the rights of local people to enjoy the land for informal recreation, and to protect it from development.
The society says recent changes to English law outlaw the registration of land which is already scheduled for development. It is urging communities to identify now any land which might qualify, to collect evidence of use over a 20-year period, and to make an application to register the land before it is too late.