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CCW information website on CRoW access land

Aisla Bursnall crossing a stile on the walk up to Cnicht (photo: Pete Bursnall)

The Welsh countryside is open and ready for you - this is the message being pushed by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) as new rights for people to walk large areas of the Welsh countryside come into effect on Saturday May 28th 2005.

There will be open access to 451,000 hectares (22%) of land in Wales – an area five times greater than the 84,000 hectares where there was a right of access up until then.
But the new rights to walk large areas of the countryside will mean nothing unless people can find out where exactly they can and can't go. With this in mind the CCW has developed a ground-breaking website which gives up-to-date, user-friendly information to help walkers plan their days out. From May 23rd, the website www.ccw.gov.uk/countryside will provide detailed maps of accessible land, as well as:

Up-to-date information about restrictions to access at certain times;

A distance tool for walkers to calculate the time needed for their walk;

Ideas for places to visits such as National Nature Reserves;

Links to weather information, and other useful sites.

The website presents the information as switchable layers over OS base maps, which are fast and easy to use. In time, the web maps will show other facilities such as promoted routes and a calorie counter to highlight the health benefits of a planned walk.

John Lloyd Jones, CCW Chairman said:

“Environmental tourism, which includes walking, is already worth £821 million to the Welsh economy each year, supporting 23,600 jobs. Walking can play an important part in boosting people’s health and well-being. Wales’ health and wealth gets a welcome boost today as walkers start to enjoy their new rights."

Before adding,

“Enjoying the countryside brings responsibilities as well - it's crucial that our enjoyment is balanced with respect for farmers and others to get on with their day-to-day work.”

The CCW has also been working with the Ordnance Survey so that the areas of open country are shown on new OS Explorer Maps, covering all parts of Wales.

The CCW consulted more than 6,000 landowners, farmers and others as the maps of open country were drawn up over the last four years. Many landowners and farmers told the CCW that providing information, so that visitors are well informed, is really important. The website, OS maps and good signage on the ground will help meet this need.

The Countyside Code is more important than ever as people start to enjoy their new rights:

Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs.

Leave gates and property as you find them.

Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home.

Keep dogs under close control.

Consider other people.

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