What land is included in open access?

Most mountain, moor, heath, down and common land in England and Wales is open access. Some woodland areas owned by the Forestry Commission and National Nature Reserves managed by Natural England also have open access, and the England Coast Path project is adding further access along the English coastline.

Mountain, moor, heath and down each have their own legal definition for open access.

Mountain is land over 600m/1,969ft above sea level and other upland areas of rough, steep land with crags, scree, bare rock and associated vegetation.

Moor is unenclosed areas of semi-natural vegetation, including bog, rough acid grassland and calcareous grassland.

Heath is unenclosed areas of nutrient-poor soils that support acid-loving plants such as heather, gorse, bilberry and bracken.

Down is semi-natural, unimproved grasslands in chalk or limestone areas, perhaps also supporting scattered scrub.

Common land is land registered as such with the local commons registration authority.

Woodland: Since being introduced, access land has been extended to include some woodland managed by the Forestry Commission.

Coast: Natural England are busy creating the England Coast Path, which is due to be completed in 2020. This project will create a path around the whole English coast, with the right of access on to the area between the path and the sea, known as the coastal margin.

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