Right to Roam

The right to roam (also known as freedom to roam) gives people the right to access certain areas of the countryside on a legal basis. So, this gives walkers, ramblers and hikers legal access to certain areas of countryside across the UK (apart from Scotland) under the terms of The Countryside and Rights of Way Act of 2000.

The right to roam doesn't mean that people can walk wherever they like - private land is often still private land. This scheme was set up for areas that are designated as open countryside such as moors, heaths, downs, common land and mountain land. The scheme was launched in 2000 but is being implemented gradually across the country. New Ordnance Survey maps are being released to show right to roam areas and special symbols are also being placed in relevant areas.

Even in those areas that would be designated right to roam there may be times when the act is not applied. For example, private land owners can have certain areas of land (such as woods) excluded and they can prevent access to their land for 28 days a year. Golf courses and farm land are also not under the scheme and other exclusions can be applied such as nature conservation and heritage issues, for example. The right to roam rules only apply to people travelling by foot.