Our countryside paths are one of Britain’s most precious assets. Hidden in plain sight, they allow all of us to access and enjoy the countryside. Whether you're a walker, nature lover or wild swimmer, there is a path awaiting you. But keeping them in good condition requires hard work and investment.
As we prepare to leave the EU, the government is developing a new set of rules for how the countryside will be managed long into the future, as part of the Agriculture Bill. It is vital that these rules protect our right - and the right of future generations - to access and enjoy the countryside.
January 2020 marks the return of the landmark Agriculture Bill to Parliament. During the last parliament, we worked tirelessly together to ensure that in the future, farmers are rewarded for improving access to the countryside.
Thousands of our supporters wrote to their MPs and spoke up for the need for everyone to be able to access our beautiful countryside. We were delighted to see that public access was recognised as a public good in the last Bill and we're pleased to see it has been retained in this latest version.
“We welcome the return of the Agriculture Bill to Parliament and the renewed commitment to improve public access to the countryside. Ramblers research shows that people really value public access, with more than 80 per cent saying visiting the countryside was good for their physical fitness and wellbeing. To really make a difference to the millions of people who enjoy the benefits of being outdoors every year, getting the detail of the legislation right will be critical.
“We need the Bill to establish an agricultural payments regime that rewards farmers for making the existing network more accessible or creating new routes that help more people enjoy the benefits of walking in nature. We want a Bill that’s fair for farmers and creates a level playing field across the sector. To make that happen, it is critical that as a condition of receiving public funds, farmers fulfil existing obligations to keep paths clear.”
MPs are set to debate the latest draft of the Agriculture Bill. This is an opportunity to ensure it enhances access to the countryside. But what exactly does ‘enhancing access’ mean?
The UK's departure from the EU means that a new agriculture policy needs to be developed. This is likely to have an impact on access to the countryside. Find out about the proposed policy.
From walkers to photographers to micro adventurers, find out why people want to keep paths open, and let us know why you want to protect paths.
Agriculture is a devolved issue, and the situation across the nation varies. Find out more below: