CROW sign at Naddles Crag copyright Michael Turner

Open Access Land

Countryside and Rights of Way Act

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) provides further access opportunities to the open countryside. We are actively working with partners to ensure the successful implementation of the Act.

From 28 May 2005 people were given new rights to walk on access land (mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land). This important legislation:

  • gave people greater freedom to explore open country on foot
  • created a duty for Highway Authorities and National Park Authorities to establish Local Access Forums
  • provided a cut-off date of 1 January 2026 (now changed to 1 January 2031) for the recording of certain rights of way on definitive maps and the extinguishment of those not so recorded by that date
  • offered greater protection to wildlife and natural features, better protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and more effective enforcement of wildlife legislation
  • protected Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty with legislation similar to that for National Parks

Where can I find out more

Natural England provides a range of online information including maps of open access land, any restrictions applying, and help for land managers.