The historic new right of Open Access, sometimes known as the 'right to roam', started in Cumbria in May 2005. Open Access means that you can walk across miles of spectacular open country that was previously out of bounds to the public. There is over 825 square miles (2,100 square kilometres) of open access land in Cumbria alone. The opportunities to explore and discover little known areas and to link up existing footpaths in new ways are endless!
On open access land you are allowed to walk, run, climb, picnic, take photographs, paint, watch wildlife and above all appreciate the stunning landscape. The new rights do not extend to camping, cycling, horse riding, and the driving of any vehicle other than a mobility scooter or buggy.
Walking on open-access land can be challenging, as you will often be a long way from recognised paths or even obvious landmarks. Stiles and gates may also be few and far between. As a large percentage of the access land is open country, good navigation skills and suitable clothing are essential. Also your access rights can sometimes be restricted for conservation, land management and public safety reasons - this can be checked here.
The county council's Countryside Access team has teamed up with local guidebook writer, Mark Richards, to produce a series of downloadable leaflets to help you explore a variety of open access landscapes in all corners of the county. Please take a look through the left hand menu which lists all the walks, each page provides a general description and a facility for you to download the route information and map. This work has been supported by a number of partner organisations including the Friends of the Lake District, Cumbria Tourism, Natural England and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Full photo galleries of all the walks can be found on Mark's web site at www.markrichards.info
A compact taster leaflet which encapsulates 6 walks is also available from the quick links menu.