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Countryside users and land managers across England were today given ...
Countryside users and land managers across England were today given

the likely timetable for the introduction of the new right of access

to open country under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

The right for the public to walk on England's mountain, moor, heath,

down and registered common land is to be implemented before the end

of 2005, and the government decided in November 2002 to introduce it

on a region-by-region basis. This will enable countryside users to

start enjoying some of the new opportunities as early as possible

rather than wait until mapping and appeals processes are complete for

the entire country. Today's announcement gives details of the latest

state of play on that regional timetable.

Rural affairs minister Alun Michael said:

'The Countryside and Rights of Way Act will enable people to walk on

land in some of the most beautiful areas of our countryside that were

previously off-limits, whilst ensuring that this is balanced with

nature conservation issues and land management needs.

'We have always stated our intention to open in regions as quickly as

possible, and I am delighted today to be able to set out a clearer

timetable for the new right of access to come into effect. I intend

to open the first two areas - the South East and the lower North West

- on 19 September 2004 to coincide with National Walking Day.

'The process of mapping the countryside is complex and the timetable

for the later areas may be subject to change. However, by making this

information available now we can ensure that those people with an

interest in open access, particularly landowners and managers and

those preparing to use their new rights, can plan ahead.'

The current timetable of commencement dates in each mapping area is

as follows:

Area Commencement Date Status

South East 19 September 2004 Confirmed

Lower North West 19 September 2004 Confir med

Central Southern December 2004 Planned

Upper North West May 2005 Planned

North East May 2005 Planned

South West August 2005 Planned

West October 2005 Planned

East November 2005 Planned

For further information on the new access rights or for advice on how

to manage public access, including details of the restrictions

process for landowners and managers, visit the open access website at To request the 'Countryside Access and

the new rights' information leaflet, phone the Open Access Contact

Centre on 0845 100 3298, or email


1. Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 provides for

the creation of a new statutory right of access on foot to 'access

land' - usually open country and registered common land - in England

and Wales.

2. Further information about the Countryside and Rights of Way Act

2000 is available in the form of a fact sheet, published online at

3. The South East area (area 1) covers East Sussex, Kent, Surrey,

West Sussex and the London Boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon,

Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon

Thames and Sutton. The lower North West area (area 2) covers

Lancashire (excluding a small area north of the A65), a small part of

Cumbria south of the A65, part of North Yorkshire (including Craven),

part of West Yorkshire (including Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees),

Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, parts of Staffordshire,

Derbyshire and South Yorkshire in the Peak District National Park, as

well as parts of north west Derbyshire that border the National Park.

Information on the boundaries of the eight mapping areas can be found

on the Countryside Agency's website:

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