Once you are out walking, open access land is often identified with the brown ‘access’ symbol shown below. If you are leaving open access land, you may see the ‘no access’ symbol, and will need to find a public right of way to continue your walk. Given the nature of open access land, you may not see one of these signs, so make sure you have a map on you.
You are permitted to climb over walls or fences to get into, out of or across open access land, as long as you don’t damage them.
The right to walk across open access land or coastal margin can sometimes be restricted locally to ensure people don’t accidentally disturb any sensitive wildlife, or interfere with rural businesses. Restrictions can apply for reasons of land management, public safety, fire risk, conservation, preservation or even defence and national security.
These can often be applied at short notice, so check whether any restrictions apply before going for a walk, even if you have walked there before. You can check for restrictions here.
Some types of land remain off limits, even if this land falls within the boundaries of open access or coastal margin on a map. This excepted land may not be signposted on the ground, so it is important that you familiarise yourself with the areas you aren’t allowed to walk on before heading off. A full list of excepted land can be seen below.
Open access restrictions don’t affect whether you can walk on a public right of way.