The Countryside Agency was given the duty by parliament to map all areas of land in England that is “wholly or predominantly mountain, moor, heath or down”. They had no discretion to omit areas of open country from the mapping process and where land has been identified on the map as open country, the act ensures that any conflict between public access and land management or other issues may be resolved by the imposition of exclusions or restrictions of access
In schedule 2 of The Act, the national restrictions and local restriction powers only apply to CROW access rights. They do not affect what people already do: by local tradition or tolerance; with express permission; on public rights of way such as footpaths and bridleways; or under any other existing rights or arrangements that apply locally. Your ‘access authority’ (the national park or highway authority) has special powers to help you manage the new access rights.
Also, within the terms of schedule 1 to the CROW Act, certain types of land are classified as “excepted land” and will not be subject to the access rights.
Practical guidance for land owners and managers of open access land in England, and for those that advise them:
Positive Access Management (CAX150-3)– Practical ways to manage public access on your land
Open Access and Public Liability: (31kb) (CAX150-1) – a guide for people who own and manage land
Statutory Restrictions on access land (CAX150-4)– a guide for land managers
Signs on access land in England – guidance for land managers (CA182)
The countryside code includes advice for land managers.
Protect ground nesting birds (dogs on leads) template: (32kb) - this sign can be downloaded and used by landowners to display on Open Access land.
Integrated Access Management (CA178)
Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000 Part 1: Access to the Countryside (NECR012) and Access and Nature Conservation Reconciliation: Supplementary Guidance for England (NECR013) - Two publications based on scientific research that help identify the potential impacts of access to enable measures to be put in place to secure the reconciliation of both access and nature conservation objectives.
Statutory guidance is issued by Natural England to National Park Authorities and the Forestry Commission to help them to discharge their functions as "relevant authorities" in relation to local exclusion or restrictions of CROW access rights in England. There is also separate guidance from the Countryside Council for Wales for relevant authorities in Wales.
The guidance has been approved by the Secretary of State. National Park Authorities and the Forestry Commission are required by CROW to have regard to it.
Natural England discharges the same local exclusion and restriction functions in relation to CROW access land that is not the responsibility of National Park Authorities or the Forestry Commission. In discharging these functions Natural England will also have regard to this guidance.
Statistics about restrictions made by Natural England and the national park authorities:
Please contact the OACC if you have any queries about these reports.