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.
Andy Biddulph commented
We already have rights of access to rivers under the 1472 Act for Wears & Fishgarths (details on andybiddulph.co.uk) The only thing stopping us is the unlawful actions of vested interests. The only reason they can get away with this is because there is no instrument of state for the protection of public rights. We, as individuals, can not even use the courts. Without a public rights commission accessible to all citizens we effectively have no public rights.
So our farm, with our sheep should be open to all with dogs, children and god knows what? We then have to ensure a working farm is ridiculously safe to avoid people with no common sense who will sue? So can I walk and sit in your lounge? Look in your bathroom as you bathe? Watch your children sleep? I thought not..... This is a horrendous idea
I'm doing a little kayaking journey starting next April, to try to gain more public awareness of this issue & hopefully I might be able to get my local Tory MP in on it as well. (Wishful thinking probably.)
Anyway, I'll be going around England, it will take about 3 months probably. A lot of it will be paddling, but the hardest part will be walking the Offa's Dyke long distance footpath, with a kayak on my back!
I just feel like it's got to be done, as I'd like to see unrestricted public access to our rivers, at some point in my lifetime.
I've done a blog, but it's not very good yet.
Anarcho-snorkelists, forward and seize the day! The waterways of Britain are yours!
Stu Anderson, Ann Anderson commented
As a Scot who is resident in Letchworth for the last 13 years, and has canoed in several places around the world, (including a bit in England) I have just discovered via this website the unbelievably medieval restrictions on access to water in England. I hope we can do something to change this, and having just purchased a Sea Eagle fastrack 385 kayak which I can safely use despite some disability, I fully intend to use it with or without permission (in a sensible way).
Dave Cottrell commented
We will win the right to paddle if we keep going, the Rambles won and now live alside the shooters with few problems. We will be able to live with the Anglers also. They have been privilaged in having exclusive use of the rivers for so long that they think it is right, it is not, rivers are a national asset and should be available to all. They are hanging on to a privilage esablished in an undemocratic era where money ruled, the world has changed and their views will have to change. WE WILL WIN.
Kevin Falconer commented
If access is available in the rest of the world, why don't we have it here. Scotland has the right idea.
YES - All rivers should be accessible to canoeists etc. - you can't own moving water!!
The Only waterways that should be restricted are those where rare species breed/ need protection, and those that present significant man made Hazards (Certain Wiers) Dam Syphons etc. Alternative routes should be advised in these areas, All other water deep enough to allow passage should have a public right of unpowered navigation.
manmade waters could have a licence requirement.
Doug Dew commented
John-Paul Shaw commented
We have a historical right of access. The government need to clarify the situation to prevent commercial interests preventing us from exercising them.
Professor Susan Hogan commented
NO LAW OF TRESPASS.
Jason Stone commented
England and Wales are the only countries in the world where the landowner says it is illegal for your grandchild to swim in a river, or to paddle their feet in it. What nonsense!
Davie Dow commented
I have paddled all around the coast of Scotland and on many of the rivers and lochs there, in summer and winter. I remain astonished that the acknowledged success of the "Right to Roam" policy - and the personal responsibilities that go with it - have so far not been translated down south. Surely this is not a case where Scotland (and a Nationalist government to boot!) has actually led the way? Or is it because of its birthplace that progress here is so slow?
Mike Perrott commented
I agree and this access, which common law allows, should be made clearer
Nick Wilkinson commented
Chris Eastment commented
We need to press for access rights to all inland water, similar to the access situation in Scotland.
Geoff Bowers commented
Navigation on the water and the right of access to the water should indeed more closely resemble those in Scotland.
Gareth Chapman commented
I have recently been made aware of the situation here in England and Wales in relation to using rivers and really can't believe how it has got to this. I want others to know how ridiculous the situation is so that we can gather support to move towards a system of rights and responsibilities like that it Scotland (and the rest of the world)!
Tony Burton commented
I'm particularly concerned about navigation rights for manually propelled craft. Our rivers should be free for the whole population to enjoy.