WALKERS WILL get the right to roam across open country in central and southern England from Dec 14.

DEFRA has announced the area will be the third to be opened as part of the staged introduction of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

Junior DEFRA minister Alun Michael said the Act was important to everyone who loved the countryside.

“Our intention is to open regions as quickly as possible so I‘m delighted to announce that the new right of access will come into effect in central southern England on 14 Dec.”

Designated countryside in the lower north west and south east regions become officially accessible to walkers on Sept 19.

Work to open designated areas of mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land across the rest of England is to be completed by the end of 2005.