I suggest a campaign about ...

Access rights in England

Rights to access the English countryside, including waterways, should more closely resemble those of Scotland. The land should be free for all to enjoy and use responsibly, it works in Scotland, it can work min England too.

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    Richard OpenshawRichard Openshaw shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    879 comments

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      • Sarah CollingsSarah Collings commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        HELP- 'No Swimming' Views wanted!
        Attentiion all posters!- Your comments are really interesting. I'm researching a feature for the Outdoor Swimming Society whose members have encountered lots of spurious 'No Swimming' signs and warnings.
        Would be great if I could hear your experiences- you can contact me on sarahcollings@fsmail.net
        Thanks very much for your help!

      • DellaDella commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We have a river running through our village, part of which is adjacent to the county road. People have accessed the river for decades and generations. Recently a local farmer who owns adjacent fields has ordered our children out of the river. There are only a handful of days warm enough for children to go in the river. The local anglers and parish council have no issues with the children swimming in the river from the roadway. Can I challenge this attempted restriction in view of the history of swimming and proximity to public highway? We need to formally free up such areas of river in line with Scotland and other parts of Europe.

      • TrevorTrevor commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The swimming situation is crazy in this country. As a triathlete I would love to be able to swim in many lakes and rivers but the fraction that allow it is tiny :(

      • Eddie StalkperchEddie Stalkperch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Facts:
        • Only 2% of rivers in England and Wales have Public access
        • The public do not have access along 65, 000 kms of rivers in England and Wales
        • Whoever owns the land along the river (the riparian owner) also owns the property rights to the river bed. They don’t own the water itself, only the land it passes over.
        • If a river doesn’t have a public right of navigation and you haven’t got consent from the riparian owner, you’re committing trespass by paddling or even wading in it.
        • Nearly all the most beautiful inland rivers are not accessible to the public.
        • Canoeing is an increasingly popular recreation, and is not socially exclusive
        • Canoeing is an affordable means of getting “on the water” for everyone, especially young people, families and the retired.
        • Providing greater access to the rivers will enable a healthier and fitter nation as canoeing and other water sports are very much about participation.

        For more information check out http://www.riversaccess.org

      • Eddie StalkperchEddie Stalkperch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Facts:
        • Only 2% of rivers in England and Wales have Public access
        • The public do not have access along 65, 000 kms of rivers in England and Wales
        • Whoever owns the land along the river (the riparian owner) also owns the property rights to the river bed. They don’t own the water itself, only the land it passes over.
        • If a river doesn’t have a public right of navigation and you haven’t got consent from the riparian owner, you’re committing trespass by paddling or even wading in it.
        • Nearly all the most beautiful inland rivers are not accessible to the public.
        • Canoeing is an increasingly popular recreation, and is not socially exclusive
        • Canoeing is an affordable means of getting “on the water” for everyone, especially young people, families and the retired.
        • Providing greater access to the rivers will enable a healthier and fitter nation as canoeing and other water sports are very much about participation.

        For more information check out http://www.riversaccess.org

      • stustu commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        when i was in the forces we were told we were fighting for queen and country maybe they should have explained that after we finished we should stay off the best bits because they belong to the rich, perhaps the ones who own so much should go and defend it themselves,as for letting people eat a picnic in my garden what a pathetic comment why dont you come and see the size of my garden then ill take you to the duke of northumberlands GARDEN see if your tiny mind can take in the difference

      • Amanda McCaigAmanda McCaig commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Historically people in the UK had the right to use any inland waterway that could float a boat - literally. Rivers were public highways. Land owners have stolen these from us. Time to put this right.

      • Eddie StalkperchEddie Stalkperch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Canoeing and Kayaking is enjoyed by more than 1,000,000 people, providing a healthy outdoor activity for young people, families and older people. We have 41,000 miles of rivers suitable for canoeing, but only 2% - 4% of our rivers are available to us. I hope you see the benefits of providing a general right of recreational access to rivers within a sustainable and responsible framework such as works so well in Scotland. This would be a very positive step, providing benefits to all who enjoy the countryside.

      • Eddie StalkperchEddie Stalkperch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        England and Wales seem alone in Europe and the English speaking world in not having a general right of public access to inland waterways. Currently only 4% of rivers have a clear right of access for canoeists, wild swimmers etc

      • Eddie StalkperchEddie Stalkperch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "The general public seems to have no idea that access to rivers for canoeing, swimming, paddling and picnicking is denied by landowners and anglers."

      • Eddie StalkperchEddie Stalkperch commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "The general public seems to have no idea that access to rivers for canoeing, swimming, paddling and picnicking is denied by landowners and anglers."

      • EdEd commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Gino: Anglers and boat users have used our rivers side-by-side for thousands of years. Responsible water users already have a right of access to our rivers. Our taxes pay for environmental management: permits, membership fees and voluntary agreements all seek to restrict our right of access.

      • Annabel TateAnnabel Tate commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If it is correct, as I have read, that ancient statute allows people to navigate (by boat or by swimming) any river that either is or ever was, navigable, then it seems we already have the right to swim in a large number of our rivers, including my local river, the Ouse in Sussex. Perhaps landowners need to know this information.

      • Annette Annette commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Everyone should have access to lakes, rivers and sea for swimming. It is one of life's truly unadulterated pleasures and free access would help to encourage more people to get fit and become stronger swimmers. There is no reason why swimmers and other water users cannot exist in harmony as long as each shows regard for the other's needs.

      • Mark BloomerMark Bloomer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I strongly support the access rights. If it works in Scotland (and most other countries) it can work in the UK, and English swimmers are currently effectivey discriminated against. I'd commend what Gino and other anglers have done, and swimmers should recognise these efforts and do their best to work with them and join a sensible community of water users. On the other hand, from what I have experienced so far sailors and anglers are often hostile to swimmers, but they will have to get used to the idea that we're not going away.

      • HelenaHelena commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am living in the UK from 1983, but came from the Continent where it is possible to swim everywhere where there is public access to water (exept some cases, such as reservoirs of "drinking" water for cities). Most towns and villages have a lido, pond, lake or even several facilities for swimming. Families spend time by the water, sun bathing and playing sport games. Swimming is considered a very good sport for health of individuals, children and, generally, of the whole nation, as it allows people to be active and spend time in fresh air. Additionally, it is very cheap. I do not understand why rules in England should be different from rules in Scotland and European countries. No wonder that there is so much obesity and related illnesses in England. To maintain swimming facilities (some need no or very limited maintenance) must be much, much cheaper than to cover the cost of health problems (diabetes, cardio-vascular, some cancers, etc) related to inactivity of the population.

      • GinoGino commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Barrie, your rights are not less important than mine. But with what is left after i pay my income tax and council tax i also pay for a rod licence and annual membership fees to several angling clubs in order to get access to the bits of water i want to visit. i also give up many hours of my time on a voluntary basis (as do many anglers) for the benefit of the places where i visit.

      • Andy QuickAndy Quick commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        They may own the land but they do not own the water,
        All that is being campaigned for is responsible fair access, acess via public land is not tresspass.

        VAA's do not work and have not worked in the past, that was why Canoe Wales withdrew from them, Access to a river for one day a years as one of the old agreements said is not fair.

        http://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/news/22-03-2011/red-card-red-tape-launched

        Quote:"Recommendations: DEFRA should introduce a statutory right of access in England and Wales for unpowered craft to inland
        water for recreational purposes. This system of rights and responsibilities should be based on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code."

        The department of Culture, Media and Sport can see what a crazy situation it is. So why is it only certain individual who can't.

        Paddlesport is a beautiful pastime, we take nothing from the water and leave no trace of our passing. All we are asking for is responsible access to the water for ALL water users.

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