Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (sometimes called the CRoW Act) is a UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 which came into force on 30 November 2000.

As of September 2007, not all sections of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act have yet come into force. This means that only parts of the Act are currently valid in law.

The Act implements the so-called 'Right to Roam' (also known as Jus Spatiendi) long sought by the Ramblers' Association and its predecessors, on certain upland and uncultivated areas of England and Wales. The act is being implemented in stages as definitive maps
Definitive Map
The Definitive Map is a record of public rights of way in England and Wales. In law it is the definitive record of where a right of way is located. The highway authority has a statutory duty to maintain the Definitive Map, though in national parks the National Park Authority usually maintains the...

 of the areas are produced. Not all uncultivated land is covered — for instance in the southern area the guidelines are such that the land must almost always be heath
Heath (habitat)
A heath or heathland is a dwarf-shrub habitat found on mainly low quality acidic soils, characterised by open, low growing woody vegetation, often dominated by plants of the Ericaceae. There are some clear differences between heath and moorland...

 or calcareous
Calcareous is an adjective meaning mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate, in other words, containing lime or being chalky. The term is used in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.-In zoology:...

 downland to qualify.

A staged review of footpaths, including limited rights to create new paths where needed, is being conducted under the Act. Again, this is being conducted in a staged manner, which can produce anomalies. (Of the two parts of the old Gloucestershire county, South Gloucestershire was revised in the Southern area and the rest of Gloucestershire in the Midlands.)

Some long-standing areas of dispute became accessible under the Act — these include Chrome Hill
Chrome Hill
Chrome Hill is a limestone reef knollon the Derbyshire side of the upper Dove valley. It is adjacent to the more distinctive but lower Parkhouse Hill.Chrome Hill was declared open access land...

 and Parkhouse Hill
Parkhouse Hill
Parkhouse Hill is a small but distinctive hill in the Peak District National Park in the English county of Derbyshire. It lies on the north side of the River Dove, close to the border with Staffordshire....

 in the Peak District
Peak District
The Peak District is an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and South and West Yorkshire....


The Countryside and Rights of Way Act also made some changes in respect of nature conservation, in particular to Part I of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom and was implemented to comply with the Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds...

. These three main changes are: the maximum penalty is now a term of imprisonment instead of a fine; the Secretary of State can designate "wildlife inspectors" who have a range of powers under the Act; offences of disturbing certain birds and animals are extended so as to cover reckless as well as intentional acts.

The act gave power to create local access forums (lafs), comprising a balance of user and land-owner interests, to give advice on development of access land and of the footpath network; the policy of footpath improvement would be set out in a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (RoWIP). (see for example which covers a large part of the former Avon area).


A similar bill was enacted in Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003
The Land Reform Act 2003 is an Act of the Scottish Parliament. It created a framework for responsible access to land and inland water, formalising the tradition in Scotland of unhindered access to open countryside, provided that care was taken not to cause damage or interfere with activities...

 which formalised the Scottish tradition of unhindered access to open countryside, provided that care is taken not to cause damage or interfere with activities including farming and game stalking.

See also

  • Freedom to roam
  • Open Country
    Open Country
    Open Country is a designation used for some UK access land.It was first defined under the 1949 National Parks Act , and was land over which an appropriate access agreement had been made...

     — UK usage
  • Rights of way in England and Wales

External links

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