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3. Use your right to roam

You can access some land across England and Wales without having to use paths - this land is known as ‘open access land’ or ‘access land’.

Access land includes mountains, moors, heaths and downs that are privately owned. It also includes common land registered with the local council.

Your right to access this land is called the right, or freedom, to roam.

What you can and can’t do

You can use access land for walking, running, watching wildlife and climbing. 

There are certain activities you can’t usually do on access land, including:

  • horse-riding
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • camping
  • taking animals other than dogs on to the land
  • driving a vehicle
  • water sports

But you can use access land for horse-riding and cycling if: 

  • the landowner allows it
  • there are existing rights or local traditions, eg it’s an event that’s taken place for many years
  • public bridleways or byways cross the land – horse riders and cyclists can ride along these

Find open access land

Search for open access land and find out about land that’s currently closed to walkers.

Find common land near you

Contact your local council to find common land near you.

Report problems with open access land

You can report problems to your local highway authority - contact them through your local council.

You can also contact the Open Access Contact Centre for help resolving the problem.

Open Access Contact Centre
openaccess@naturalengland.org.uk
Telephone: 0845 100 3298
Find out about call charges