BMC launches Access Land film to highlight the fight for better access

Posted by TeamBMC on 13/02/2024

This Valentine’s Day, show your love for our land by sharing the BMC’s new Access Land film to help campaign for better access to wild spaces.

Did you know that walkers and climbers can still only access 11% of England and Wales without the fear of trespassing? Furthermore, these sites are often remote mountain, moorlands, heath and coastlines meaning they’re only accessible to people who live there or who can afford the cost of travel and overnight stays. If people remain disconnected from nature in this way, how can they be expected to care about it and conserve it? In addition to this, scientific evidence conclusively proves that mental and physical health of the entire population benefits immeasurably with frequent time spent in nature. 

Join our fight for better access

Access and Conservation Officer for Wales, Eben Muse, says, “At the BMC we feel that we should radically re-think our approach to accessing nature. We should aim for a default of inclusion and learn from the do-no-harm approach taken in Scotland and Scandinavia, providing everyone with a responsible Right to Roam. Failing this, our freedoms on access land should be expanded, with rights of access extended to woodlands, all downlands (not just fragments as at present), and Green Belt land.

We should be allowed to camp, kayak, swim and climb in these places too. We believe that these activities and freedoms can exist alongside a thriving agricultural landscape and while respecting and looking after our natural landscapes, bringing us closer to nature.

We’ve listened to our members, and this is what we are campaigning for.”

WATCH: 'Access Land' campaign film on BMC TV 

What is the BMC doing about it?

1. Our new Outdoors for All manifesto, produced by a coalition of outdoor organisations, calls for new legislation to open up the British countryside. It will be officially launched in Parliament on 6 March 2024. 

READ MORE: Outdoors For All: A Manifesto for the Outdoor Sector

2. We are actively engaged in the front lines of the debate for access, and have given our support to the recent Dartmoor Wild Camping appeal and remain focused on any opportunities to spread awareness of the importance of an extended right to roam. 

3. We are advocating for more access on all BMC platforms. We are launching our short film titled ‘Access Land’ as part of this campaign which you can share to encourage more to join our cause.

WATCH: Welsh Version of 'Access Land' campaign film on BMC TV

What else can you do?

Write to your MP in England or your MS in Wales

We have included a template below which you can change or add to. If you receive a notable response, please share it with us at access@thebmc.co.uk. Enter your postcode here and personalise your letter at https://www.writetothem.com/

Access Email Template

Dear [Your representative name],

I’m writing to you to call for your support for access reform, and a Scottish/Scandinavian style access system. We believe that a default of access with exceptions for cropland, private gardens, and other sensible exceptions is the cheapest, most effective way of bringing us all closer to nature and supercharging our path networks.

We only have a right to access 11% of England and Wales, and much of that land is far away from urban areas where people actually live. This creates an inherent inequality of access and barriers for people who live away from areas where there is access land freely available. We are also not permitted to swim in our rivers, lakes, or wild camp discreetly even on ‘access land’, cutting us off from meaningful experiences and health benefits.

The BBC reported that 32,000 of our paths are blocked, and our councils are unable to process the registering of our historic rights of way in time for the 2031 cutoff. We are among the world’s least nature-connected people and it’s time for a change, and we are calling on you to support meaningful access reform as well as the abolishment of the cutoff date for registering historic rights of way.

Extending our right to roam would bring a host of benefits, from physical health and reducing the burden on the NHS, to helping to create the next generation of environmentalists and stewards for nature. 

We believe that the Countryside Code should be properly funded, and introduced as part of the national curriculum, alongside essential skills for enjoying the countryside and connecting with nature.

Please, join the general public in supporting this cost effective, popular policy.

Thanks, and best wishes,

[Include your name and address here so your MP/MS knows you’re a constituent].

 

Support the BMC and Right to Roam campaign

BMC access work is funded directly by BMC members, so your membership goes a long way towards supporting this and other access work, to protect and to protect access to our hills, crags, and green spaces. Join the BMC for £2.95 / month



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16/02/2024
While I support he campaign for more and better access to restricted land, this video does not help the cause. As an HML qualified Outdoor Instructor teaching young people the countryside code, for the governing body to produce a video condoning breaking the code they wish to enforce, climbing over fences, dislodging stones climbing over dry stone walls, and physically remonstrating in an aggressive manner waving arms right in the face of the aged game keeper. This looks and feels like a film from the 1970's. I am appalled that the BMC are promoting this type of behaviour.
Anonymous User
19/02/2024
Thanks for making this - interesting reading the comments below, but I don't agree.

It's clearly a fictionalised account and not meant as an example to follow. Perhaps the opening shot could have been something other than climbing a fence (although seemingly quite carefully).

I think perhaps you've missed the point they're trying to make, Chris, which is that in the absence of access, sometimes climbing a fence is all we can do, which inevitably leads to conflict. We've all seen the great although slightly dull films the BMC have produced telling us how to responsibly behave in the outdoors, I just watched one this morning about dogs.

And forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I think the trespasser is the elderly one being remonstrated at in the closing shot?
Anonymous User
19/02/2024
Presumably you've never had to hop a fence or climb a wall when it's been blocked, Chris? I personally think pretending this kind of activity doesn't happen where access is poor would take away from the overall message of the video - which is that conflict should and could be avoided by more equitable laws. Or at least that's my reading.
Anonymous User
20/02/2024
Quite frankly I am extremely disappointed that the BMC are going down this route. Free access in Scotland is very different to the suggestion that people should be able to roam over over any land in any area. Even in Scotland certain areas have come under great pressure and the rights that you promote are now having to be restricted. The habitats and landscapes in many areas of the country are under huge pressure from people and we already have an amazing network of footpaths, bridleways and other permitted tracks that give access to the countryside without the potential of damaging our already fragile areas. Responsible landowners are the carers of our countryside and more and more are ensuring that their farming practises work carefully alongside the environmental needs. You should know that people cannot be trusted to act responsibly as was clearly seen during Covid.
06/03/2024
Thank you for making this

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