5 Simple Ways to Exercise Your Right to Roam
Following your regular footpaths along to what nature has to offer, you might not realise the vast majority of England and Wales is not accessible to you. The 'Law of Trespass' means we are actually banned from setting foot on hundreds and thousands of acres of open space.The LawIn 2000, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) gave us partial 'Right to Roam' over 8 per cent of England. Even taking into consideration we are on a densely populated Isle, with each person's boundary of their own home, 8 per cent doesn't seem like a great deal of access. The CRoW Act gave legal access to walk over certain landscapes without fear of trespassing.
Right to Roam, a campaign group, have mobilised to help people have easy access to more of the country from which we are excluded. The people behind Right to Roam believe nature should be accessible to all, not just those who are lucky enough to own it or live close by it it. Being keen on the idea of wild swimming, we want to question if access should stretch beyond walking and include the right to camp, kayak, swim, and climb beautiful and natural places?Feeling Inspired to Do Something?Being part of a community of wild swimmers like this gives us some influence. Can we work together to affect change? In countries such as Norway, Estonia and Scotland the distinct custom of having a right to roam has been upheld as a common right and nature belongs to the country's psyche.Five ways to get involved:
1. Walk the pathsEnsuring paths remain accessible by walking them is one of the most effective ways to uphold the CRoW Act. So find out locally where to go. Although a large landowner themselves, National Trust sometimes hold volunteer-led group walks with the sole purpose of using lesser-known paths. Check out the events page at your local NT.
2. Volunteer to restore paths and access
Local to Swimferal HQ is a group of volunteers, CRoWS, that maintain pathways and stiles using funding. Is there be a similar group - or a need for a group local to you? CRoWS describe themselves as a community rights of way sevice who have achieved funding through various sources to carry out work on waymarking, constructing and repairing bridges and stone walls. CROWS – Community Rights Of Way Service (crows-coop.co.uk)3. Check out your rightsCheck out the government website which details our rights and offers a method of reporting if access is unlawfully restricted. Rights of way and accessing land: Overview - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)4. Sign up to Right to Roam
To find out more, you can visit right2roam.org.uk. Be ready for a site with beautiful illustrations with lots of info on how you can get involved, including peaceful protest walks and how to link up to groups in your local area.5. Support Open Spaces SocietyThe Open Spaces Society are the oldest conservation society in Britain and have been in existence since 1865 'defending the open spaces people love in England'. It's clearly a age-old desire for us to use the green spaces around us. Have a look at their website for the latest news and links to local volunteers. Open Spaces Society - Protecting Open Spaces Since 1865 (oss.org.uk)We'd love to hear how you are getting involved.
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