BMC secures more open access in Wales

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 05/07/2013
Rhoscolyn, Anglesey. Photo: Anne Burgess (licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence)

A ten-year review of CROW access land in Wales gave the BMC the opportunity to lobby for improved access rights to key climbing and walking sites in Wales. Some significant gains in securing access rights to key sites were achieved.

Climbers and walkers have  enjoyed and had access to many established climbing venues in Wales for many years without any hindrance or access problems to date. But much of this access has been de facto access, i.e.it's been tolerated by the landowner but there has not been been a legal right of access onto that land.

The Countryside and Right of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act) created a right of access on foot for informal recreation to areas of land mapped and defined as 'Open Access' land. The criteria for land to be included as Open Access  is very stringent. Such land had to be primarily of a nature that defined the land as mountain, moor, down or heath and also in the original mapping had to be areas of land greater than four hectares.

The decadal review of the mapping gave the BMC and other users the opportunity to lobby for areas that had been missed in the original mapping process, or where mistakes had been made, to be included as open access land.

The BMC submitted over ten applications for land to be included as Open Access and this included significant areas such as the land above Rhoscolyn cliffs on Anglesey, the Little Orme headland at Llandudno, areas of land (including crags)  on the Southern Rhinog mountains, the RAC boulders in Snowdonia, Craig y Gesail at Tremadog, land below Sentries Ridge on Mynydd Mawr and a few other smaller venues.

The good news is that the assessors from Natural Resources Wales agreed with the BMC that these areas of land were of of a type and nature that should be included on the soon to be published provisional maps of Open Access land in Wales - securing access as a legal right for walkers and climbers in perpetuity to these areas.

 



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