Countryside—the right to roam
Produced in partnership with Alastair Frew of Lodders Solicitors and Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Alastair Frew of Lodders Solicitors and Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Countryside—the right to roam
  • Access land
  • Excepted land
  • Public rights on access land
  • Defining particular access land
  • Consequences of ownership of access land
  • Access to access land
  • Management of access land
  • Metropolitan and urban commons
  • Village greens

Countryside—the right to roam

The right to roam on open land has many similarities to the right to travel from A to B (which characterises a public highway), but the right to roam is entirely statutory. Mostly, the right is set out in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRWA 2000). Unlike a highway right, the right to roam needs no origin or destination in its use or definition. The CRWA 2000 was introduced in order to clarify and extend the right of the public to walk across open countryside. The various regulations and restrictions in the legislation are intended to make it clear that walking is permitted, but that the walkers must respect the rights of other users of the countryside. The CRWA 2000 was introduced in order to clarify and extend the right of the public to walk across open countryside. The various regulations and restrictions in the legislation are intended to make it clear that walking is permitted, but that the walkers must respect the rights of other users of the countryside.

Access land

CRWA 2000 provides access only on access land as defined in the Act and there are many exceptions and restrictions that apply to the right to roam on access land. The basic definition of access land is:

  1. conclusively mapped open country under CRWA 2000

  2. registered common land

  3. land

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