Right to Roam in headlines again

Ecovillage Network UK office at evnuk.org.uk
Sat Jun 10 16:18:46 BST 2006

1. £59m for Right to Roam - Independent (includes interesting list of 
who has appealed)
2. Land of freedom - Daily Telegraph

Celebrities criticised as cost of right to roam law hits £59m
By Terry Kirby, Chief Reporter
Published: 10 June 2006

Thousands of legal challenges - some by celebrities living in country 
houses and rich or titled landowners - against the right to roam have 
cost taxpayers many millions of pounds.

Lengthy inquiries - such as that over the public access to Madonna's 
country estate in Wiltshire - meant that the costs of implementing the 
Countryside and Rights of Way Act more than doubled.

According to the National Audit Office (NAO), the Countryside Agency 
budgeted on a £28m cost for the introduction of the legislation, 
designed to open up almost two million acres of countryside to the 
public. However, the agency found that £69m has now been spent, almost 
half of which was due to the mapping required of the new areas.

According to the agency, the money covered the costs of the 3,173 
appeals against the Act during the process of implementation, which ran 
from 2000, when the Act received Royal Assent to last October, when the 
process was completed. Many of the appeals ran for several days. 
However, the agency said that only 2.4 per cent of the new access land 
was reduced by the inquiry. A spokeswoman stressed that the agency 
viewed the inquiry process as a necessary part of the public 
consultation to ensure a balanced result.

The NAO report criticised the agency for failing to conduct a pilot 
scheme to test procedures and for underestimating the mapping costs. It 
also pointed out that, in a field test conducted by its employees last 
year, there was little evidence that large numbers of the public were 
using their right to walk over the land. The findings will have 
implications for the plans by the agency and the Ramblers' Association 
for a similar right governing coastal access.

The right to roam was a long cherished dream of the Ramblers' 
Association and was crucial to its formation in the 1930s. It was a 
commitment of the Labour Government when Tony Blair came to power in 
1997. But the right has long been resisted by big landowners and country 
estates who have used the inquiry and appeal system to restrict the 
extent to which the public were able to access their land.

David Fursdon, president of the Country Land and Business Association, 
many of whose members challenged the Act, said: "Never has so much been 
spent on so few - so let's not make the same mistake with the coastal 
access project by giving people a blanket right that will fail to 
encourage more, and new, people to get out and enjoy the countryside." 
He added: "It's obvious that these blanket rights do not lead to new 
people visiting which is what we want for our rural businesses and for 
the public."

A spokeswoman for the Ramblers' Association said it was the landowners 
themselves who had pushed for the mapping proceess. "It was landowners 
who wanted the land to be mapped, which led to all these appeals and 
added to the cost," she said. "We are now calling for a right of access 
to the coast but do not want a similar mapped approach as it is costly 
and time-consuming."

Get off my land - appeals against right to roam

* In November 2004, the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes appealed against a 
decision to classify a field he owned, near Exford on Exmoor in Devon, 
as open country under the right to roam legislation. The planning 
inspector backed the claim by Sir Ranulph and two other adjoining 
landowners, that the land had been wrongly classified as mountain, moor, 
heath or down under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

* The Grosvenor Estate, owned by the Duke of Westminster, the country's 
third richest man and one of the nation's biggest landowners, appealed 
against a decision to open 16 hectares of moor and grassland it owns 
alongside the river Grizedale in the Forest of Bowland, one of the most 
important access areas sought by campaigners. After an inquiry, the Duke 
won a partial victory when it was ruled that a strip of grassland should 
be excluded.

* Burgh Island, a five-hectare outcrop of land off the coast of south 
Devon, connected to the mainland only at low tide, and the site of an 
upmarket hotel, built in 1930s Art Deco style. A two-year battle over 
its classification as open country under the Act resulted in victory for 
the hotel owners in November 2004 after the planning inspector ruled 
that the island could not be classified as heathland because of the 
absence of heather.

* Fifty-four acres of the 1,132-acre Ashcombe estate on the Wiltshire/ 
Dorset border owned by Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie, are now 
off-limits to ramblers during the shooting season between September and 
February, because of the risk of someone getting shot. The decision by a 
planning inquiry in June 2004 was a victory for the couple, who claimed 
their human rights could be infringed. The ruling also meant walkers 
were unable to go within sight of the couple's home.

* Vixen Tor, on Dartmoor in Devon, has long been barred to walkers and 
climbers by the landowners. Although the planning inspector accepted 
this caused "anger and disappointment" he concluded an inquiry in 
January last year by saying that the site could not classified as open 
countryside under the Act because the ground cover did not constitute 
mountain, moor, heath or down as defined under the Act.

Land of freedom
The right to roam is once again a contentious subject. But while 
conservation considerations along the coast have to be taken seriously, 
the new Access Land, as far as walkers are concerned, is a cause for 
celebration, says Christopher Somerville.

The moment itself was a bit of an anticlimax, as such moments often are. 
I became a legally welcome Access Land walker, where a year before I 
would have been a trespasser, simply by stepping down from the stone 
stile at OS grid ref SD999661 and taking one pace to the left off the 
public right of way.

New horizons: legislation has opened more than 3,000 square miles of 
hitherto inaccessible upland country in England and Wales

No big deal. The proper thrill of taking advantage of CRoW, the 
Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, only hit me when I took a look 
around from my new vantage point. Here were the ancient field systems, 
the cairns and medieval settlements of Lea Green, the heights of Hire 
Mire Ridge, the low limestone scars of Davy Dimple, and great swathes of 
wild moor and untrodden fellside farther up Wharfedale - all Access Land 
under CroW, all mine to explore, as it had not been for my predecessors.

The Countryside Agency's call last week for a new public right to roam 
Britain's coastline has raised hackles among landowners and 
conservationists, but it will also have many supporters. So far CRoW 
legislation has opened more than 3,000 square miles of hitherto 
inaccessible upland country in England and Wales. Walkers, picnickers, 
kite flyers and climbers are duly rejoicing.

Two men who have worked long and hard to see this day - Alan Hulme, 
manager of Ranger Services in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and 
Phil Richards, the area ranger for Lower Wharfedale - had tramped up 
from Grassington to put me in the picture.

"Most people are used to sticking to public rights of way," observed 
Alan. "It's going to take a bit of time to change people's perceptions, 
for them to realise that they actually can go anywhere they like on 
Access Land." Suiting action to words, he stepped aside from the path, 
strode off across the moor and climbed to the nearest high point to 
catch a stunning prospect up Wharfedale - a view forbidden by law until 
May 28 last year, when the staggered implementation of CRoW came into 
being in this region.

Many huge swathes of Access Land will stay truly wild, unprovided with 
any aids to navigation or ease of walking. Most walkers will gravitate 
to newly open land that is easily accessible from villages, dales and 
other places that already cater for ramblers and day visitors. Access 
Land in such locations is bound to develop its hot spots - natural 
routes to a summit or an archaeological feature.

Around Wharfedale, Phil Richards told me, the Dales volunteers who 
assist the National Park rangers have been out and about, recording how 
many people use which bits of Access Land, whether dogs are being kept 
under close control as they should be, who is heading where.

Once the park authorities know which historic sites and natural features 
are proving the biggest attraction, a helpful footbridge here or a stile 
there can be inserted along the natural approach routes.

Beyond Lea Green, Alan left us, and Phil and I turned north-east to 
climb into an enormous, empty wilderness of grassy limestone crags and 
heathery gritstone moors. We passed the spoil heaps, pools and broken 
buildings of lead mines never seen by ramblers; we threaded lonely 
valleys and crunched sheep tracks and rabbit paths still innocent of any 
boot print.

"It's literally Access Land as far as the eye can see," said Phil, 
sweeping his hand across miles of moors and fells rolling like a brown 
sea to the horizon. "And it's all ours to wander over. Isn't that 

A short history of CRoW

Landowners and wanderers have been facing off against each other since 
time out of mind, but it was the wholesale enclosure of common land for 
private profit during the 18th and early 19th centuries that sharpened a 
national sense of grievance. A series of arrogant actions, such as Lord 
Brownlow's unsuccessful attempt to close Berkhamsted Common to the 
public in 1866, added fuel to the fire, as did the closure of vast areas 
of moorland at the behest of sporting owners and water companies.

 From 1884 onwards successive private parliamentary bills to establish a 
common freedom to roam over moor and mountain were defeated, but the 
ever-growing ramblers' movement - especially strong in northern 
industrial towns surrounded by tempting but forbidden moorlands - would 
not be denied. In 1932 thousands of ramblers from Sheffield and 
Manchester invaded the moors of Kinder Scout in an act of mass trespass 
that landed six of their leaders in jail and enshrined them as martyrs 
for the cause.

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 defined open 
country as "mountain, moor, heath, down, cliff and foreshore". For the 
Ramblers' Association and other campaigners over the following 
half-century, access to this type of land was the shining prize always 
seeming to remain tantalisingly just beyond the horizon. But long and 
persistent pressure paid off at last when, in 2000, Parliament passed 
the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

The long march to open access was over. It took another five years for 
the legislation to come into force, area by area; but on October 31, 
2005 the final regions were opened. Now the public can enjoy some 3,200 
square miles of newly accessible land in England and Wales.

Scottish ramblers, too, have recently seen legislation come into force 
north of the border that establishes a statutory right of responsible 

The Ordnance Survey Explorer maps covering England and Wales have been 
revised and those containing Access Land have been reissued

Where shall I go?

Staff and volunteers at the Ramblers' Association (020 7339 8500, 
www.ramblers.org.uk) have chosen their favourite areas opened under the 
CRoW legislation.

This "Best of" selection provides a starting point for newcomers and a 
talking point for seasoned ramblers of open country. The following is a 
sample of the star attractions, with their OS 1:25,000 Explorer map 

A beautiful stretch of the South Downs above Hove and Brighton (Explorer 

Canford Heath near Bournemouth (OL22).

The Warren, Watership Down, Ladle Hill and Beacon Hill in Hampshire (144).

Heathland of Gittisham Hill near Honiton, Devon (115).

Hound Tor Down and Haytor Down, Dartmoor (OL28).

Goonhilly Downs on the Lizard peninsula (103) and Penwith Moors and Carn 
Galver between St Ives and St Just, West Cornwall (102).

Fan Ffraith peak and the moors and mountains of the Cnewr Estate, east 
of the A4067 in the Brecon Beacons (OL12).

The wide uplands of the Berwyn Hills (255) and the ridge of the Clwydian 
Hills (265).

Weaver Hills between Cheadle and Ashbourne, Staffordshire (259).

Heath and access woodland at Charnwood Lodge, Timberwood Hill and Warren 
Hills, east of Coalville, Leicestershire (245).

Hallam, Derwent, Ughill, Bradfield, Broomhead, Midhope and Bamford Moors 
- wild uplands lying west of Sheffield; also Langsett and Barnside Moors 
near Stocksbridge, offering a more gentle countryside experience (OL1).

Moors in the Forest of Bowland including Burn Moor ("the forbidden 
moor"), and the open country of Marshaw Fell and Hawthornthwaite Fell 
just west of the Trough of Bowland (41).

Whinfell Ridge and Common, north of Kendal in the Lake District (OL7).

Voluntary agreement access for walkers in the Cheviot Hills has become 
permanent (OL16).

Blanchland Moor north of Blanchland village, Northumberland (OL43).


A new series of Freedom to Roam Guides is published by Frances Lincoln, 
4 Torriano Mews, Torriano Avenue, London NW5 2RZ ( 020 7284 4009, 
reception at frances-lincoln.com, www.frances-lincoln.com). Illustrated 
with sections of OS 1:25,000 Explorer maps, each guide contains at least 
a dozen walks across Access Land in an area of England and Wales already 
noted for its outstanding walking.

By their very nature, walks on Access Land are not confined to public 
rights of way, and the guides don't attempt to prescribe a continuous 
route; instead, they offer ways of linking up points of interest, and 
suggest certain more definite sections of route to follow in tricky places.

The Pennine Divide: Walking the Moors between Greater Manchester and 
Yorkshire by Andrew Bibby (£7.99).

South Pennines and the Brontë Moors including Ilkley Moor by Andrew 
Bibby (£7.99).

Forest of Bowland with Pendle Hill and the West Pennine Moors by Andrew 
Bibby (£7.99).

Peak District: Northern and Western Moors by Roly Smith (£7.99).

Peak District: Eastern Moors and the South by Roly Smith (£7.99).

The North York Moors by Judy Armstrong (£8.99).

Wharfedale and Nidderdale by Andrew Bibby (£8.99).

Wensleydale and Swaledale by Andrew Bibby (£8.99)

The Three Peaks and The Howgill Fells by Sheila Bowker (£8.99).

The 251 Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer maps covering England and 
Wales have been revised and those containing Access Land have been 
reissued, the relevant land shown with a yellow tint and brown 
boundaries. The covers of these Explorers carry the Access Land logo, a 
brown silhouette of a walker that also appears on notices at points of 
entry to Access Land.

Find and buy your Access Land map by visiting 
www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite; you can also order by phoning 0845 
200 2712.


Access Land is open to everyone, and many will enjoy it by taking a 
picnic to a viewpoint that is only a short step from a railway station, 
bus stop or car park. Inevitably, though, it's going to be walkers who 
get most use out of the newly available countryside.

The mountain, moor, heath, downland and common land opened up under the 
CRoW legislation are sited in the wilder, less frequented and less 
accessible areas of England and Wales. Walking off-track in such 
surroundings can be very different from a Sunday stroll on a 
well-maintained and reassuringly waymarked footpath.

On Access Land, paths - if they exist at all - are likely to be rough 
and rubbly. Unaccustomed stamina may be required for walking on stones 
and through bog and heather. If you venture way off the beaten track, 
help will be farther away and other humans conspicuous by their absence. 
Remember that mobile phones may not work in remote areas.

Are you ready to step away from the crowd and venture into the wilder 
regions of Access Land? For anyone thinking of doing so for the first 
time, here's a handy check-list:

1 Have I got the right equipment - weatherproof and waterproof clothing, 
good walking boots, walking poles or stick, map case, day pack with a 
snack and a hot drink, a whistle and a torch?

2 Am I confident about using an OS 1:25,000 Explorer map and a compass - 
in mist and foul weather as well as in fair?

3 If I use GPS, can I rely on my map-and-compass skills if the 
technology goes wrong?

4 Will I be able to manage without waymarks or footpath fingerposts?

5 Can I get myself over barbed wire and stone walls without fuss and 
without causing damage?


Dogs must be kept on a lead no more than seven feet long (a) whenever 
near farm stock, and (b) on all Access Land between March 1 and 31 July 
to safeguard breeding wildlife, especially ground-nesting birds. Owners 
of certain types of Access Land - grouse moors, for example - may apply 
for more wide-ranging restrictions on dogs.

Mountain bikers, horse riders and vehicle drivers do not enjoy the new 
access now open to walkers.

Exclusions: you may find yourself temporarily excluded from Access Land 
for a variety of reasons ranging from wildlife under threat to sporting 
activities that might endanger you. Landowners should post notices at 
entry points to their Access Land, warning of and explaining any 
exclusions; information boards are pinpointed on Access Land Explorer 
maps by brown "i" symbols.

To avoid disappointment it is always worth checking on any restrictions 
with local rangers or wardens, local post offices or tourist information 
centres before you set out, especially in the spring nesting season.


For all information contact the Countryside Agency's Open Access Contact 
Centre (0845 100 3298, openaccess at countryside.gov.uk, 

Other useful websites



Eurotopia 2005: Guide to EuroEcovillages and Intentional Communities
Price £12.00 inside/£15.00 outside UK (inc. P&P)
UK Pounds Cheque/PO to 'Ecovillage Network UK' (see address below)

Our specialist contact point for the UK EcoVillage movement.
Register free on the UK PeopleFinder - http://www.peoplefinder.org.uk

ECOVILLAGE NETWORK UK (that's us!) - http://www.evnuk.org.uk
Populating the rhetoric of rural sustainability
Volunteers: Russ, Nikki, Tony, Pam, and Joyce
PO Box 1410, Bristol, BS99 3JP
Tel. 0117 373 0346
email: office at evnuk.org.uk

EVN-UK MAILING LIST: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ecovillageuk
Subscribe (approx. 1 post/2wks.): ecovillageuk-subscribe at yahoogroups.com

CHAPTER 7 - http://www.tlio.org.uk/chapter7/
The UK's Sustainable Rural Planning Campaign & planning office of 'The 
Land Is Ours'
'The Land' magazine - 16-20pp. bi-yearly details from
The Potato Store, Flaxdrayton Farm, South Petherton, Somerset, TA13
email: chapter7 at tlio.org.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1460 249204

ECOVILLAGE GUIDE BOOKS - available (postage included) from 
Mulberry House, 19 Maple Grove, Bath, BA2 3AF - 01225 484472
UK > 'Diggers and Dreamers' - Annual directory of UK Communities - £6.00
EUROPE > 'Eurotopia' - You can buy this from us (see above)!
COTTARS AND SQUATTERS > Reccommended: UK land rights history - £10.00

PERMACULTURE MAGAZINE - http://www.permaculture.co.uk/
Quarterly colour mag. for enquiring minds and original thinkers everywhere.
Hyden House Ltd, The Sustainability Centre, East Meon, Hampshire GU32 
1HR, England.
info at permaculture.co.uk
Tel. 01730 823311

Green building magazine
PO Box 32, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA44 5ZA
01559 370798

DIGGERS AND DREAMERS - Searchable community database 
Diggers & Dreamers, a UK guide to communal living for more than 10 years
c/o Edge of Time Ltd, BCM Edge, London, WC1N 3XX, UK
info at diggersanddreamers.org.uk
Tel. 07000 780536

WWOOF - http://www.wwoof.org/wuk0.html
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms
Join WWOOF, do some work, stay for free. Membership includes directory
PO Box 2675, Lewes, Sussex, BN7 1RB
fran at wwoof.org

PERMACULTURE ASSOCIATION UK - http://www.permaculture.org.uk
Supports individuals, projects and groups working with permaculture in 
Third Floor Studios, 6 Carr Mills, 322 Meanwood Road, Leeds, West 
Yorkshire, LS7 2HY
office at permaculture.org.uk
Tel/Fax: 07041 390170 and 0113 262 1718

GROUNDSWELL - http://www.groundswell.org.uk
Promoting and developing self-help initiatives with the homeless

U.K. COHOUSING NETWORK - http://www.cohousing.co.uk/
Sharing expertise and experience amongst the U.K. cohousing groups.

FOREST SCHOOL CAMPS - http://www.fsc.org.uk/about.htm
Camps for kids to get back to nature with the minimum of authority.


Rosa-Luxemburgstr. 89, D-14806 Belzig, Germany - info at gen-europe.org - 
0049 33841 44766
Ecovillage Office, Findhorn, The Park, Forres, Moray, Scotland IV36 0TZ 
- ecovillage at findhorn.org - +44 (0)1309 690154
Minutes of meetings 
European email list - post <euevforum at lists.gen-europe.org> - contact 
webmaster at gen-europe.org

Download free & easy to use PGP encryption at http://www.pgpi.com

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list