12 January 2001
Cash in on ramblers, farmers urged

By FWi staff

FARMERS should view the forthcoming right to roam as a marketing opportunity to woo the general public, the National Trust has claimed.

Peter Dixon, National Trust director of estates, made the claim at a seminar organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

“The more the general public have access to the land and what goes on in it, the more likely they are to support politicians giving state support.”

Kate Ashbrook, secretary of the Open Spaces Society, agreed, saying that allowing people greater access to the countryside would be a good thing.

Only a minority would cause any problems, she told the seminar, which was held in London on Thursday (11 January).

“They have got to be educated, just as farmers and landowners need to be educated about not obstructing footpaths,” she said.

But Graham Wynne, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said he doubted whether the right to roam would attract more walkers.

“I dont think the change in legislation with the introduction of the Countryside And Rights of Way act is going to generate any more visits,” he said.