Independence Day – Will the next UK Election bring everyone the freedom to enjoy the outdoors?

22 May 2024

The next UK General Election has been announced and as all political parties work to publish manifestos ahead of Thursday 4 July, we will be lobbying all parties to commit to an Access to Nature Bill.

We’re passionate about improving access to the outdoors for millions of people across England and improving health, wellbeing, and outdoor inclusion for all.

Recent news reports have shown just how hard it is for some people to access nature from home:


  • People living with accessibility challenges can struggle to independently use our path network due to preventable barriers like steps, stiles and gates. 56% of people with physical and/or sensory disabilities say physical barriers stop them from using the path network.


  • Those living in inner cities with a lack of green space nearby, who are often limited by financial constraints when it comes to accessing green space further afield. 21 million of us don’t have accessible green or blue space within a 15-minute walk of our home.



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The current Government has already pledged that everyone should have access to green space within 15 minutes of home, and Labour have already publicly committed to an Access to Nature White Paper, but we’re pushing for cross-party support for better access to the outdoors for all.

Barriers to the countryside aren’t always physical or financial either, inequality of access, lack of knowledge of where we can go and feeling unwelcome when we get there are all very real barriers to some people when thinking about getting outside.

Everyone has a right to enjoy the outdoors confidently and independently, without the need to be accompanied by someone who can easily open gates, without needing to feel you have to walk with a group or worrying that a blocked right of way could cut short your walk.

The Ramblers is already tackling barriers to the outdoors, but some can only truly be overcome if the next government commits to change. We have a set of proposals for a new Access to Nature Bill, which includes calls to:

  • Expand the freedom to roam
  • End the threat to unrecorded public rights of way
  • Create urban green routes that link nature-deprived parts of cities with green spaces
  • Create a more accessible and inclusive path network by removing unnecessary barriers


If you’re passionate about walking, getting outside and enjoying the health benefits walking can bring, you can show your support for our Outdoors Unlocked campaign by signing the pledge. Over 1,400 people have already shown their support and it only takes a minute to do so.

If you’ve already signed the pledge, thank you for your support. You may also want to consider writing directly to your MP on the issue. You can find a guide to writing to your MP here.

“Better outdoor access could transform the nation’s health and wellbeing, increase people’s care for nature, and boost economic growth in local communities. Right now, the path network alone adds 3,000 healthy years of life to the population. Imagine the possibilities if the next government opened up the outdoors for all.”

James MacColl, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns, The Ramblers.  


Outdoors Unlocked

Our 2024 general election campaign is calling for new legislation that will unlock the outdoors for all.

a group enjoying a walk with a small dog in tow

2024 – a year of opportunity for walkers in England?

In the run-up to the election, we look at how political parties can unlock the outdoors for everyone.