The public were granted sweeping new rights of access over open countryside under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
The right applies to access over mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land, as well as to land which landowners may decide voluntarily to dedicate as open access land.
The new right is for recreation on foot, and includes activities such as walking, picnicking, climbing, running and bird-watching. The right does not permit horse riding or cycling, hunting, fishing, or taking part in organised games, etc.
Dogs may be taken on access land, but must be kept on leads between March and July, and at all times when in the vicinity of livestock.
It is possible for landowners to suspend or restrict the new access rights. They may either suspend or restrict them for up to 28 days each year, without reason, or they may apply for necessary closure or restriction where necessary for land management, safety or fire protection. The restriction process is managed by the government agency Natural England.
The new rights do not affect other existing rights of access, such as those exercised over public or private rights of way, or exercised by virtue of long use or tradition, or by express permission.
We can advise landowners on:-
The following link will take you to the dedicated website for land managers maintained by Natural England:-
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