Small Woodland Owners' Group

Right to roam

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Postby tracy » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:21 pm

I have been sent this question, can anyone help?


Can you clarify the ' Right to Roam' legislation for us? Are we, ordinary people, allowed under the most recent legislation, to wander OFF FOOTPATHS and through fields that belong to farmers? Equally, are we and ordinary people allowed to wander off footpaths and through privately owned woodland? We ask, simply because a local regularly walks her dogs in our wood, indeed treats it as her back garden. We would appreciate clarification about the rights of all in the UK to walk on private land. many thanks


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Postby The Sawyer » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:17 pm

Hi Tracy as far as I remember from uni schedule 5 of the countryside and rights of way act 2000 (CROW2000) only applies to access land. in the most part access land is open downland but not cropped land or woodland as it is classed as the same.


areas marked as access land are purple on the os map. but may have restricted or no access these include army ranges and SSSI's.


the Crow2000 only applies to England and Wales only as Scotland has its own legislation.


I would reccomend that the person that contacted you looks up Schedule 5 on the internet and also speaks to any of the local that are friendly as well as contacting the local records office and finds out if there is or has been a section 31 (of the highways act) out on the land in question this may help if they wish to fence an are. by lessening the risk of people claiming long term access to the site.


sorry this goes on a bit and hope it helps


regards Kester


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Postby tracy » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:43 pm

Thanks Kester, I thought you might know! I will get the folks involved to take a look. It's difficult to get folks to understand why woodlands have paths...


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Postby The Sawyer » Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:54 am

Hi Tracy, the main problem we have is people walking on the sides of the paths because its muddy #*@$ when you say well we could make the paths up they say oh no that would damage the woodland. Thus is the problem with having Public access to your woodland.


regards Kester (on Honeymoon in Cornwall)


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Postby MartreCycle » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:37 am

Slightly off topic -


something to try on short lengths of muddy track is to cut sticks - say about 18 inches long - diameter up to 2 inches and lay them down side by side across the path - so folk walk on the sticks -


very dependant on the scale of the situation - lay down long lenghts of wood to act as a border to the path - any soil dug out can be put onto the path, levelled and sticks put ontop -


sustainable - yes, workable - with a bit of sweat and adds to the charm of a path in a wood


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Postby tracy » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:13 pm

Happy honeymoon Sawyer!


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Postby carlight » Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:28 pm

to the original question - no no no no non and no .

any farmed land is exactly that , unless under an open access agreement ,ie farm payment /stewardship scheme .

try asking the question on a landrover site ,where farmers hang out !


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Postby DaveTaz » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:42 pm

Re: "slightly off topic",

surfacing a path/path edge has to be done as to make sure you have reduced the risk of accident thus preventing potential claims. If the path is just muddy, leave it alone or one day you may find your path has become a track. If you do want to surface it, do it properly. By providing a surface for some body to walk on you are leaving yourself open to potential claims. Once you have surfaced a path used for walking on you are then going to have to maintain it as well ... just a thought!


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Postby MartinD » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:57 pm

DaveTaz is correct, in that once you have provided a made-up surface, there is more chance that you will be liable if people have accidents. If it is a public right of way, then the local authority are responsible for the walking surface. (The landowner is only responsible for keeping it open). I have a footpath with a muddy stretch, and the council have put down a plastic egg box type construction, similar to that sometimes seen on carparks. Although it looked odd at first, it is now buried, and although you still get your feet dirty, you don't sink into it.


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Postby Keith Williams » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:48 am

Related question, loose dogs really do upset the local fauna, something most trespassing dog walkers don't realise. While I'm stalking / photographing animals, dogs make the animals bolt from 100+ yards away. Whats the legal position if these dog(s) disturb a protected species?


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