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Access to Open Country - Do and Don't

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What your responsibilities are

With the joy of the new right of access comes serious responsibilities

  • to be safe which means taking care for yourself and other people if you're in a group
  • to be careful not to disturb other people, plants and habitats, livestock or wildlife
  • to leave gates and property as you find them
  • to take your litter home
  • to keep your dog under close control

By following the Countryside Code we hope you will enjoy your visit and help protect the countryside for everyone.

What you can do

Walkers admiring the view
Open access is great news for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities such as walking, running, climbing, picnicking, taking photographs, visiting archaeological sites and wildlife watching.

It's good for dog walkers too but note between 1 March and 31 July dogs must be on a fixed lead of no more than two metres – that's because wildlife and livestock are breeding then. They may also be excluded completely from certain grouse moors – notices will warn where this is the case.

But the Peak District's wild spaces are more than just a place for physical recreation. The wildness and remoteness of the high moorlands are places that inspire poetry, writing, photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and more. There's time and space away from the rat race to be found in open country – places that can recharge mental and spiritual batteries and provide the opportunity for quiet reflection on life's vagaries.

What you can't do

Millstones below Stanage Edge
Activities such as cycling, driving a vehicle and horse riding are not allowed on access land unless there's an existing right of way. Camping and lighting fires are also not allowed on open access land.

And sometimes there might be restrictions on open access for land management reasons such as bracken spraying, during grouse shoots, during the bird breeding season or to repair an ancient monument.

For up to date information on access restrictions call the national helpline - the Open Access Contact Centre – on 0845 100 3298.

Staying safe

The Peak District weather can change rapidly – appropriate outdoor clothing and stout footwear is essential.

Use a map and compass to navigate your way.

Plan escape routes for if the weather turns nasty.

Before you set off, tell a friend or family member where you intend to walk and when you'll return – they can raise the alarm if you're missing.

Remember mobile phone coverage can be patchy in places.

Everyone who wanders on access land is responsible for their own safety and must follow the countryside code.

Landowners are not liable for any accidents that may occur as a result of people accessing their land.

Countryside Code [external website]

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