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To: UK Party Leaders

Unlock England’s Countryside: Introduce a Right to Roam

We need the next government to pass new legislation to defend and extend the public’s right to roam.

Why is this important?

Everyone needs regular access to nature - it’s vital for our physical and mental health. And to solve the climate and biodiversity crises we need to be better connected to the natural world.

Yet the public only has a right to roam over 8% of England. The Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 created this partial right, but it’s unfinished business – for instance, there is no right of access to rivers or most woods. Huge swathes of our countryside are locked away behind barbed wire fences and hostile signs saying ‘Keep Out!’ and you can be shouted at just for going for a swim.

What’s more, access to nature is hugely unequal – over a quarter of all constituencies in England effectively have no right to roam at all. While the wealthiest areas enjoy 80% more paths than the poorest. Access to nature should be open to all of us, not a privilege enjoyed by the few.

Even where we do have access, our freedoms are under threat. When the wealthy landowner Alexander Darwall won a court case to extinguish the right to wild camp on Dartmoor last year - the last place in England it was legal - it took huge protests to overturn the ruling on appeal.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We need to demand that all UK Party Leaders commit to bold new access reform if they are in government.

We believe England should follow the example of Scotland, Sweden and Norway, where people have enjoyed far broader rights to access their countryside, so long as they do so responsibly. This isn't about a free for all: we would still have sensible exclusions to protect crops, privacy and wildlife. But exclusion would have to be justified, not assumed.

It's time we enjoyed the same rights to access our beautiful countryside here in England!

Sign this petition to help us campaign for a new right of responsible access to the countryside this election so that everyone has the chance to reconnect with nature.





2024-02-22 22:43:31 +0000

20,000 signatures reached

2024-02-22 17:53:57 +0000

10,000 signatures reached

2024-02-18 07:10:38 +0000

5,000 signatures reached

2024-02-16 14:26:11 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2024-02-15 19:57:51 +0000

500 signatures reached

2024-02-15 15:01:57 +0000

100 signatures reached

2024-02-15 14:20:23 +0000

50 signatures reached

2024-02-15 14:06:57 +0000

25 signatures reached

2024-02-15 13:56:59 +0000

10 signatures reached