SOUTHERN ENGLAND has become the latest region of England to be opened up to walkers under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

TV presenter Bill Oddie formally marked the opening up of new access land during a ceremony at the Heatherland Centre, Ferndown, near Bournemouth on Tues (Dec 14)

The region covers South Glos, Bristol, Bath, north east Somerset, Wilts, Berks, Dorset, Hants and the Isle of Wight.

The land affected by the right-to-roam legislation is mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land.

Junior DEFRA minister Alun Michael said: “This is another very special day for everyone who loves the countryside.

“Southern England has a wealth of wonderful open countryside which everyone has the right to enjoy.”

Mr Oddie added: “It is wonderful to have access to so many new places, but with freedom comes responsibility.

“Responsible roaming, that‘s what it‘s all about. Indeed, there will still be places we should keep away from but now it‘s for the right reasons.”