What is Access Land?

The following information provides a summary of your rights.  Full details can be found on the Natural Resources Wales website.

What is Access Land?

Access Land is mostly open country and registered common land.  Some areas of forest have also been ‘dedicated’ as public forests, such as Forestry Commission land, and the public are allowed free access to them.

However, landowners and tenants are able to restrict or exclude public access to Access Land in certain circumstances.  More information about exclusions and restrictions.

What can I do on Access Land?

The CROW Act allows you to walk freely on Access Land and you do not have to stick to linear routes (such as footpaths or bridleways) unless you want to.  Permitted activites include:

However, activites such as horse riding, camping, swimming and cycling are not allowed.  Horse riders, cyclists and motor vehicles must keep to exisiting rights of way.

The CROW access rights do not affect rights or activities that already exist and other activities may be permitted with the permission of the landowner.

How will I know where I can go?

Access Land is clearly marked on Ordnance Survey Explorer (1:25,000) maps.  The CROW access areas are shaded yellow with a brown border and dedicated forestry land is shown in pale green with a brown border.  Before setting out on your walk, for the most up to date information, visit the Natural Resources Wales interactive map where details of any exclusions or restrictions will also be shown.

Signs on the ground have been developed and information should be available at main access points such as car parks and visitor centres.  Look out for the new access symbol which shows that land is open for public access on foot.

Does that mean I can walk wherever I like?

No, it doesn’t.  Some areas or types of land are exempt from the new access rights and, although these areas of land may be mapped as Access Land, the new right will not apply. Examples include land within 20 metres of a house, parks and gardens, golf courses and aerodromes.  A full list of Excepted Land is specified in Schedule 1 to the CROW Act.

Can I take my dog on Access Land?

Dogs are normally allowed on Access Land but there are some restrictions designed to minimise any new impact on wildlife or livestock.

Dogs must always be kept under close control on Access Land or public rights of way.  Between 1st March and 31st July, or at any other time when in the vicinity of livestock, dogs must be kept on short fixed leads of no more than two metres in length. Landowners or occupiers can also exclude or restrict dogs for temporary periods (such as during lambing) and Natural Resources Wales has the power to restrict dogs for nature conservation purposes.

Will there be any restrictions on Access Land?

The CROW Act allows landowners and agricultural tenants to close land or restrict access in certain circumstances.  Read more about exclusions and restrictions.