Open Access Land
In May 2005 the Countryside and Rights of Way
Act (CROW) came into force, clearly identifying open access land in
Wales and England. One fifth of Wales is mapped as ‘access land’
where the public have a right of access on foot.
Photo by Michael Smith ©CCW
Access land,under the CRoW Act is mostly open country; mountain,
moor, heath and downland.
Access land also includes 'registered common land' (land that is
recorded on the official registers held by the commons registration
authorities), together with areas of 'dedicated public forests'
where owners such as the Forestry Commission allow free access.
To implement the CRoW Act, CCW worked with landowners, tenants
and other interested parties to produce accurate maps of all open
Such clarity has ensured that everyone understands their rights
and obligations in respect of the landscape - both landowners, and
the people who visit the land itself.
Reviewing the maps showing open access
Every ten years, the Countryside Council for Wales is required
by law to review the maps of open access to mountain, moor, heath,
downland and registered common land in Wales.
The process will start on 16th July 2012, when CCW will issue
the draft maps of open country and registered common land. Based on
these, landowners and anyone with an interest in land will be able
to make representations.
CCW is working closely with the farming unions, individual
landowners, and a wide range of user groups to ensure that
awareness of the review is high, starting now and throughout the
process until the conclusive maps are published in September
There are restrictions on access land that can exist from time
to time, for reasons such as land management and public safety.
People visiting open access land obviously have a duty to show
respect to the environment, other people using the land, and to
those local communities which dot the landscape.
Look at the Countryside Code microsite for more details.
The Review Timetable:
16th July 2012
CCW will issue All Wales draft maps of open access. This is the
opening date for representations to be submitted to CCW.
23rd November 2012
Closing date for representation submitted to CCW.
7th August 2013
CCW will issue All Wales provisional maps.
7th November 2013
Deadline for appeals applications to the Planning Inspectorate.
9th May 2014
Appeals process ends.
24th September 2014
CCW will issue All Wales conclusive map.
General enquiries on the review should be sent to: 0300 065
3000 or email