Ac­cess land ex­plained

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

QCan Trail please clar­ify for me what ac­cess land is, and whether there are any times I can’t cross it? Thanks! Josie Fisher, via Face­book

Paul says Ac­cess land can be crossed with­out us­ing foot­paths, for ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing walk­ing, climb­ing and fell run­ning. On OS Ex­plorer maps ac­cess land in Eng­land and Wales is de­noted by a yel­low-shaded area with a tan-coloured bor­der.

It’s not per­mis­si­ble to cy­cle on ac­cess land un­less the landowner al­lows it or there’s a bri­dle path, lo­cal right of ac­cess or by­way. Nei­ther can you legally wild camp (un­less in Scot­land) or light fires there. Dogs must be kept on leads no more than two me­tres long on ac­cess land be­tween March 1 and July 31 to pro­tect ground-nest­ing birds, and must al­ways be on a lead in fields con­tain­ing live­stock.

Landown­ers may close ac­cess land for up to 28 days per year but, even then, you are al­lowed to use foot­paths to cross that land. In spe­cial cir­cum­stances, such as wild fire or dis­ease risk, use com­mon sense and stay clear if ad­vised.

Fur­ther, even if it ap­pears as open ac­cess land on a map, ‘ex­cepted land’ must be avoided. Such land in­cludes houses, golf cour­ses, work­ing quar­ries, gar­dens, farm crops, rail­ways and air­fields. Un­less there are clearly signed foot­paths, which you must then use.

■ Paul is co-founder of the UNS – a char­ity pro­vid­ing nav­i­ga­tion cour­ses for hill­walk­ers, with all prof­its go­ing back into the hills.

Trail read­ers can cur­rently en­joy 10% off the School’s week­end nav­i­ga­tion cour­ses! Sim­ply go to www.ul­ti­mate­nav­i­ga­tion­school. and en­ter ‘trail18s’ at the check­out for your dis­count.

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