Right to wander celebrated

WALKERS were today taking to land around Sutton Hoo in celebration of the new right to walk freely across acres of countryside.From today people will not have to stick to paths as they walk across 26,111 hectares of open countryside and registered common land in the east of England.

WALKERS were today taking to land around Sutton Hoo in celebration of the new right to walk freely across acres of countryside.

From today people will not have to stick to paths as they walk across 26,111 hectares of open countryside and registered common land in the east of England.

Countryside Agency board member Peter Fane, its regional director Tim De Keyzer and Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport Guy McGregor were today joining walkers on a choice of three treks through open access land around Sutton Hoo.

The walks were taking in areas including the Forestry Commission's newly-dedicated open access land at Rendlesham Forest, areas of Sutton Heath and the adjacent Broxtead Estate.

Launching the new right of open access in eastern England, Mr Fane described it as an “historic occasion”.

“I am delighted. This is the start of a new right of access for which people have been campaigning for more than 100 years.

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“It is a landmark in English social history, giving people the opportunity to walk freely over some of our finest countryside without having to stick to the path.”

“This new freedom brings many opportunities to improve people's health and well-being. It offers benefits, both nationally and locally, increasing environmentally friendly tourism and boosting business for rural communities.”

The new rights of public access have now been introduced across the whole country.

This means that, as a result of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, people can now enjoy about 935,000 hectares of the English countryside - much of which was previously off-limits.

New editions of Ordnance Survey Explorer maps show all known access land.

Ordnance Survey aims to have published new maps covering the whole country by April next year.

Weblink:

www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk

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