A petition is calling on the Manx gov to introduce a right to roam law to permit rambling on private land.
In England and Wales the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 guarantees non-motorised recreational access to open countryside such as mountains, moors, heaths and downs, whether it is publicly or privately owned. In Scotland the public’s freedom to roam is more extensive. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 opened up nearly all of the Scottish countryside to non-vehicular access.
The petition, which was created by a man called ‘Nick’, says: ‘Following the introduction of signs forbidding entry around the slopes of Carraghan, it appears yet again that it’s time for Manx law to reflect changes already brought about in the UK. Unlike the UK, the Isle of Man has no ’Right to Roam’ legislation ensuring members of the public can walk on uplands in private ownership.
‘The land on Carraghan is privately owned but hikers have enjoyed unhindered access to the hill for decades, and paths to the summit are well established.’
Walkers have already protested about the closure to the Department of Infrastructure, which is responsible for footpaths and rights of way on the island. Much of the island’s uplands is owned by the gov, but there are significant sections in private ownership where access is dependent on the landowner’s permission.
The petition’s Change.org page adds: ‘People on the island do not have the same legal right of access to open countryside as they do in England, Scotland and Wales; let’s change this to support the continued use of rights of way and footpaths across the island. This is about the rights of the Manx public and recognising that our beautiful hills are a national asset that should be accessible to everyone.’
You can find the petition here.