Natural England - Open Access land

Open Access land

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), the public can walk freely on mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath, downland and registered common land without having to stick to paths.

Access Land waymarker

People across England now have approximately 865,000 hectares of land across which they can walk, ramble, run, explore, climb and watch wildlife as they are given the freedom to access land, without having to stay on paths.

The new rights, for which people have been campaigning for over 100 years, came into effect across all of England on 31 October 2005.

CROW Access Maps

Latest news

Please note these restrictions apply to all open access land:

At all times of the year dogs must be kept on a short lead (no more than two metres) in the vicinity of livestock.

The CRoW Act allows a landowner or farm tenant to exclude or restrict access at their discretion in certain circumstances.

Use of these powers must be notified to the Open Access Contact Centre:
For Section 23 restrictions on grouse moors – at least one calendar month in advance
For Section 22 restrictions (28 day allowance) – at least five working days in advance unless the restriction relates to no more than 5 hectares of land and lasts for no more than 5 days or it relates to any area of land for no more than 4 hours.

New sign for protecting ground nesting birds

Download the template: (32kb)pdf document for land managers, requesting that dogs are kept on leads, for use on access land.

Further information

Welcome to OASYS

The processing system for Open Access restrictions.

Open Access Contact Centre
Natural England
Temple Quay House
2 The Square

Tel: 0845 1003298
Email: OACC