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Access to Open Country


Walk on the Wild Side

Photograph of the CountrysideOn Sunday, 19 September 2004, approximately 130 hectares of private moorland in Tameside was opened up for people to walk on. This was thanks to new rights of access to open country which were granted due to an Act of Parliament that was passed in 2000 called the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

Places such as Harridge Pike, Buckton and Slatepit Moors and Hoarstone Edge, great expanses of moorland, which have been mostly out of bounds are now accessible to people on foot.

What you can do

Open access is great news for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities such as walking, running, picnicking, climbing, visiting archaeological sites and watching wildlife.

Wherever you see the open access symbol - a walker in brown on a white background - it means the land is usually open for public access on foot.

To find out more you can:

  • Get up to date Ordnance Survey Explorer maps, available at our visitor centres , outdoor shops or bookshops. 
  • Call the Open Access Contact Centre on 0845 100 3298.

Photograph of the CountrysideWhat you can't do

Activities such as horse riding, cycling and driving a vehicle are not allowed on access land unless there is an existing right of way. Lighting fires and camping are also not allowed on open access land.

Control of Dogs

To avoid disturbing or injuring wildlife and farm animals, visitors with dogs will have to keep them under control and take notice of any special restrictions. They will have to use a fixed lead of no more than 2 metres in length whenever there is livestock, and at all times from 1 March to 31 July, so they do not disturb nesting birds.

There are significant areas of moorland in Tameside where dogs are not allowed at all. Visitors should check information points, consult the Open Access Contact Centre on 0845 100 3298 to find out in which areas dogs are allowed to accompany their owners.

Restrictions

Sometimes there may also be restrictions on open access for land management reasons such as grouse shoots, health and safety reasons such as when there is a significant fire risk, or for nature conservation reasons such as during the ground nesting bird breeding season.

For up to date information on any restrictions which may apply consult the Open Access Contact Centre on 0845 100 3298 or check information points out on site.

Photograph of WalkersNew Rights, New Responsibilities

The new rights of access bring new responsibilities, not only to take care of yourself and other walkers, but also the land and its plants and animals. So, to enjoy your visit and avoid problems follow the Countryside Code. Amongst other things this identifies the need to:

  • 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.

In summary Respect, Protect, Enjoy!

Stay Safe

By its very nature access land is generally open moorland at the mercy of the elements. Everyone who wanders on access land is responsible for their own safety and must follow the Countryside Code.

Landowners are not liable for any accidents that may occur as a result of people exercising access rights across their land.

Visitors should wear appropriate clothing and stout footwear, be able to use a map and compass and have escape routes planned should the weather turn nasty. Before setting out, tell a friend or family member where you intend to go and when you're expecting to return. Please remember that mobile phone coverage is limited, especially in hilly areas.

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