Right To Roam Myths
- Cla Puts The Record Straight
As people in the Upper North West of England prepare for the implementation
of open access in May, the CLA has expressed concerns about perceptions
of rights allowed under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Despite much publicity, the CLA says that a number of issues are
CLA's Assistant Regional Director, Carole Hodgson, said: "Given
the complexity of the Act, it is understandable that people are
confused about specific points, but given the amount of funds spent
on publicising the new rights, it is disappointing. Landowners
and managers are already spending a great deal of time and effort
on preparing for the implementation of the Act and I feel that
we must clear up some of the more common misunderstandings before
the new rights commence."
The CLA has identified ten of the more common misconceptions,
which it addresses as follows:
1. It is not a right to roam According to the Countryside Agency,
the legislation does not provide a 'right to roam' but a right
of access, under certain conditions, to "access land". "Access
land" is land which has been shown by the Countryside Agency
on conclusive maps of open country and registered common land,
and which is not excepted land.
2. It does not yet exist The new rights do not exist yet in the
Upper North West and therefore cannot be used. They will come into
place when all the conclusive maps of access land have been published
and the Secretary of State has authorised their commencement. This
is planned to be May 29, 2005.
3. You do not automatically have a right of access even if land
is mapped as access land Apparent access land, even if mapped as
such, may be closed for a period of time or may actually be excepted
altogether. Temporary closures on grounds of health and safety,
wildlife and conservation, sporting and other interests may be
4. You will not be able to walk through people's homes and gardens
Even if the area is mapped as access land, you will not be able
to walk within 20m of a dwelling, or in gardens or courtyards within
the curtilage of a property, unless a right of way already exists.
Nor will you be able to walk on other types of excepted land such
as: cultivated land, public utility structures such as electricity
substations or telephone masts; quarries and other mineral workings;
railways and tramways; golf courses, race courses, airports and
aerodromes; land being developed in one of the ways above; land
within 20 metres of a building used for housing livestock; land
in use for temporary livestock pens; land habitually used for training
racehorses between dawn and midday, and at other times when the
land is actually being used for training; and military land to
which Ministry of Defence byelaws apply, e.g. training areas
5. Landowners may restrict access at certain times Landowners
will be able to close their land for up to 28 days a year, excluding
public holidays, for any reason and for longer periods for land
management purposes, or in connection with public safety or fire
6. The Landowner receives no compensation whatsoever for allowing
you on their land. The government has decided that access will
become a statutory right and that no compensation will be payable.
7. Landowner is not liable if you injure yourself on natural features.
Some access land may be inherently dangerous and visitors are responsible
for taking proper care of themselves and any children or dogs that
accompany them. When access land is open to the public, the occupier
of the land will not be liable to anyone exercising the right of
access, or trespassers, injured by the natural features of the
landscape, such as rocks, trees, rivers, streams, ditches or ponds.
8. The Land has not been Nationalised. It still belongs to the
landowner, who will continue to pay for its upkeep maintenance
9. It's your responsibility to make sure you do not cause damage.
I need something sensible to qualify this and I'm not sure if people
think they aren't liable anyway The rights granted by the Act are
for the purposes of open-air recreation not including camping and
horse riding and are subject to the proviso that the person exercising
such rights does so without breaking or damaging any wall fence
hedge stile or gate.Unless access is restricted by byelaws, all
the rights granted are exercisable at night as well as during the
day. If the public use the access in contravention of the provisions
then they can be requested to leave the land for 72 hours.
10. You cannot ride horses or bikes, nor take part in organised
sports on access land Horse-riders and cyclists will continue to
have the legal right to ride along public bridleways that cross
access land, but there will be no general right of access to access
land as there will be for walkers. The new access rights will normally
include the right to walk dogs on access land- but between 1 March
and 31 July, or at any other time near livestock, dogs are only
included if they are on a fixed lead of no more than 2 metres long.