State of the Park

Miner's Track, Snowdon

alt=View from Snowdon Summit

Public Rights of Way and Access Land

Access to the countryside is an important factor in maintaining the health and well-being of people. The National Park provides accessibility through its mountain, woodland, water and coastal landscapes to the public, via an extensive network of Public Rights of Way (PRoW), CROW ‘Access Land’ and other routes. These features facilitate access to other recreational activities within the Park, for example cycling, horse riding, water sports, climbing and picnicking etc, and also between settlements. Use of this network of footpaths etc varies with locality and season.

  Length of Public Rights of Way in the National Park 2,742.6km
  Length of wheelchair accessible paths 22.3km

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) introduced a new right for people to walk freely over ‘Access Land’ (i.e. areas of open country and registered common land) in England and Wales, including mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath and down (collectively defined as ‘open country’) and registered common land, much of which was previously off-limits. Section 16 of the Act provides for a voluntary dedication scheme, allowing landowners to dedicate statutory access to any other categories of land in perpetuity. Through this mechanism, since 1999, proposals have been made by the Forestry Commission to dedicate public rights of access to the majority of freehold National Assembly owned woodland.

In Snowdonia, large areas of land were traditionally accessible to the public through access agreements between landowners and the Snowdonia National Park Authority. The CROW Act extended public access significantly across the national park, with the designation of ‘Open Country’, ‘Registered Common Land’ and also forests. This data is presented below:

  Area of National Park defined as Open Country 84,697ha
  Area of Registered Common Land with access 21,958ha
  Area of Forestry Commission Land with access 20,987ha
  Total access secured under the CROW Act 127,642ha
  Percentage of National Park area with CROW access 59.86%