Currently only a third of woodland in England is available for people to fully explore, regardless of the government pledge to increase access to woodland in 2013. The Ramblers are now calling for all political parties to commit to producing a forestry bill in the next parliament, to increase access to England’s woods.
“The government agreed that every person should have access to a wood or wooded area close to where they live. Now we want to see real action, with woodland being opened up for everyone to enjoy,” said Ramblers chief executive, Benedict Southworth.
To encourage party leaders to make a commitment to giving walkers greater access to our woodlands, the Ramblers are encouraging everyone to email political parties and ask them to include woodland access in their party manifestos.
Last year, the Ramblers launched their ‘A Walking Britain’ manifesto, which includes three core areas they want the government to take action on:
Promoting active, healthy lifestyles by:
• Putting walking at the centre of efforts to tackle physical inactivity.
• Introducing a properly funded strategic programme for walking in England.
• Building a safer, healthier and more attractive walking environment in urban areas.
Protecting the places people walk by:
• Keeping footpaths open and easy to use.
• Providing accessible and affordable public transport for countryside users.
• Strengthening planning guidance to prevent damaging development.
Improving access to the outdoors by:
• Establishing a new, independent body for National Trails.
• Making significant progress in constructing the England Coast Path.
• Increasing people’s access to woodland and open countryside.