For the first time in a decade, as required by law, a new map showing where people in Wales have the right to walk has been updated so it could be time to grab your outdoor clothing and equipment and get ready to plan some walking in Wales.

The Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has to undertake a review of open access to areas such as mountains, moors, heath land and registered common land. However, before you charge off across the Welsh country side it is the proposed new map. It still covers about the same area, about twenty percent of the country, but does include some new access areas. Land owners do have the right to appeal, but these have to be lodged by November 7th.

Over 450,000 hectares of land, that’s over one million acres, are open to walkers and ramblers through the use of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. The majority of this is made up of open country, in particular the high open moorland, as well as common land and public forestry. Much of it can be accessed directly from the existing paths that make up 25,000 miles of public rights of way. It does include some new access areas due to change of ownership and boundaries.

The organisation has worked with a various organisations and individuals to come up with the new proposed map, and it’s now up to the landowners themselves to have a good look. Some have already been contacted by the NRW, especially where boundaries have changed so that they can see how they are affected, and discussions can take place to alleviate any possible problems on both sides.

We all have to be aware of what we do when going off track so to speak, as we have to consider the fact that it is still private land and they still have to pay for its upkeep, maintenance and conservation, as well as try to make a living from farming these areas. So while we enjoy this new found access, remember to respect that access and to avoid contact with animals, for example during lambing season, so let’s take the chance to enjoy these areas properly. So grab your outdoor clothing and equipment and start planning your next adventure.