Expand the freedom to roam
The freedom to roam gives everyone the chance to get out walking, connect with nature and explore the beautiful outdoors. It gives us all the right to walk in nature without fear of trespassing.
But, right now, it only covers 8% of England. And it is not equally distributed.
We want the freedom to roam expanded to cover woodland, watersides and more grassland. This would have a huge impact. Woodland alone would more than double the coverage of the freedom to roam in England.
What is the freedom to roam?
We had to fight for the freedom to roam. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gave us the legal right to walk freely over mountain, moor, heath and downland. Its introduction was a big step forward in giving more people the opportunity to walk in nature.
The freedom to roam means you can walk in open landscapes without fear of trespassing. You don’t have to worry about sticking to paths. You can walk without constraint, setting yourself, and your mind, free.
Our guide to where you can walk outlines more detail on what the freedom to roam is.
Why should the freedom to roam be expanded?
An expanded freedom to roam will give more people the chance to walk in nature close to home. This is not about remote mountains or distant wilderness. It’s about places right on your doorstep.
Better access to the outdoors means better health and wellbeing for all. Not only that, it makes us more connected to nature, more environmentally aware and boosts local economies.
But, the freedom to roam is not equal. Residents of the most deprived areas in England and Wales have to travel 48% further to enjoy the freedom to roam, and people from the most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods have to travel 73% further.
Where the freedom to roam exists, the benefits are part of everyday life. Now is the time to bring these benefits closer to millions of people.
We’re campaigning for the freedom to roam to be expanded to cover woodland, watersides, and more grassland. This would have a huge impact. Woodland alone would more than double the coverage of the freedom to roam in England.
It would also directly benefit those that need it most. It would give the most deprived groups easy access to the freedom to roam within a 20-minute walk from their front door. Falling from well over an hour now.
We believe the outdoors should be for everyone. Expanding the freedom to roam can help make this a reality.
Helping you understand your rights, where you’re allowed to walk, and how to find new places to explore.
The freedom to roam should be extended so that it is more equally accessible and better connected to our footpath network, as well as our towns and cities.
Open access land gives you the chance to walk freely and explore. Read our guide to open access land in England and Wales.