JUNIOR DEFRA minister Alun Michael has announced he will join hundreds of ramblers as they exercise their new right to roam across access land.

The new right will come into force on Sept 19 in both the south and east and lower north west of England.

The new laws are enshrined in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act which was passed by Parliament in 2000.

The land affected by the new right is open countryside – which in effect is mountain, moor, down and registered common land.

Mr Michael said it would be an historic day and fulfilled a government promise to give people greater freedom to explore open countryside.

“This will be a very special day for everyone who loves our countryside,” he said.

“For the first time, people will be able to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery that was once off-limits.”

Over the next eighteen months, the new rights will begin in the remaining regions in England on a rolling programme, a process set to be completed by the end of 2005.