Public access to private land

Overview

You have the right to access some land for walking or certain other leisure activities.

You can:

  • use public rights of way, such as roads, paths or tracks that run through towns, countryside or private property
  • use your right to roam on common land that's registered with us

You can only use private land with permission from the landowner.

Go to GOV.UK: rights of way and accessing land.

Making a public right of way

Public rights of way can be made on private land through:

  • dedication by the landowner – called express dedication
  • public use which has been unchallenged by the landowner – called presumed dedication
  • agreement between the landowner and the local authority
  • an order made by the local authority

Making a town or village green

Anyone can apply to register land as a town or village green. The application must show that the land was used by a significant number of the local inhabitants 'as of right' for lawful sports and pastimes for at least 20 years.

Statements that can be made by land owners

Private land owners can prevent their land being made a right of way, or a town or village green.

Highways statements and highways declarations allow landowners to prevent their land being recorded as highway on the definitive map on the basis of presumed dedication.

Landowner statements allow landowners to prevent their land being registered as a town or village green, provided they are deposited before there has been 20 years recreational use of the land as of right.