Scotland has long been miles ahead of England in terms of public access to the countryside. The long tradition of “right to roam” was enshrined in law in the Land Reform Act of 2003 which simply recognised the existing situation on the ground. Access rights in Scotland go beyond just walking and include amongst other things access to open water, camping and biking & riding.
Scandinavia enjoy’s “every man’s” rights of access to land that even extends to fishing!
Back here in good old Blighty we have the dear old National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act which largely set up the limited protection for England’s existing public paths network. The Act was visionary at the time but has proved vulnerable to local authority indifference and corruption. Outside of a national trail or park or popular local route it is almost impossible to walk a public path in England without quickly coming across an obstruction – nearly 2 a mile here in Kirklees.
The Crow Act of 2000 is a dog’s dinner of access rights given with one hand and taken away with the other. Access land can be closed, you can’t take a dog, you have to stand on one leg patting your head and rubbing your tummy on a Wednesday etc etc.
Isn’t it time for an “every person’s right” of access to the countryside in England (and Wales) ?