Open access land
The right of public access to 'access land' began in Shropshire and the west of England on the 31 October 2005. Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 has created a new right to walk on 'access land' for the purpose of open-air recreation. Members of the public are now able to walk, climb, bird-watch, sight-see, picnic and run on land where they see the access symbol. The symbol has been installed at the boundary of access land across the country.
Open country and registered common land
Access land consists of areas of open country and registered common land.
- Open country (OC) is defined as being an area comprised wholly or predominantly of mountain, moor, heath or down
- Registered common land (RCL) is land recorded on the Commons Register held by the county and city authorities under the Commons Registration Act 1965
In Shropshire, we have 6998 hectares of open country and registered common land, which makes up 2.2% of the total land area of the county. Of this:
- 2277.5 hectares is open country
- 4720.5 hectares is registered common land
Private land dedicated as open access
Private landowners also have the opportunity to dedicate their land as open access land under Section 16 of the CRoW Act 2000.
We were the first local authority in the country to dedicate our own sites under Section 16, with eight countryside heritage sites, covering 184 hectares, now being dedicated.
The Forestry Commission has also taken a lead, dedicating over 3000 hectares of woodland in the county.