Access to the Countryside

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 ("CROW Act") has given people the right of pedestrian access to more areas of the countryside such as mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land; this is known as 'Access Land'.  This right is for pedestrians only and does not extend to horse riders, mountain bikers or people driving or riding in a vehicle. However, visitors can take dogs onto Access Land, unless there are special restrictions. Dogs must be on short leads between 1st March and 31st July and at all times when there is livestock nearby. 

The CROW Act does not grant a ‘right to roam’ on any land, but introduced access on defined Access Land.  Existing access, including any public rights of way, is not affected.  Access Land may occasionally be closed to the public; when this happens, signs showing the times and dates that restrictions apply should be displayed.


Permitted and prohibited activities

Members of the public are allowed to carry out most activities on foot, including walking, running, climbing, bird watching and picnicking; the right of access is for pedestrians only.  Members of the public must not climb over or through walls, fences or gates, use a metal detector or remove anything from the area (for instance plants).  There is no new right to ride or lead a horse, cycle, or bring any vehicle onto the land. 

Please control your dog; dogs can disturb wildlife, for example ground-nesting birds, and livestock.  Between 1st March and and 31st July dogs must be kept on a short fixed lead as well any other time when livestock are near.  Please clean up after your dog and dispose of any mess responsibly.  Whenever using Access Land please take proper care of yourself and any children or dogs accompanying you on Access Land and follow the Countryside Code.


Where is the Access Land?

Access Land

Many of the mapped areas of Access Land are small isolated pockets of land. Those that are larger and the public may enjoy visiting are shown on the map above.  More detailed maps are available for the following locations (as indicated on the map above):


More Information

For more information on Access Land, please contact Natural England's Open Access Contact Centre via their website at or telephone 0845 1003298.


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