Suffolk Area Ramblers

Open Access

Access to commons and open country

The provisions in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which give the public a right of access on registered Common Land and Open Country, come into force in Suffolk on October 31st 2005 'Open Country' is Mountain, Moor, Heath and Down and each category is defined by the characteristic plants that live in that environment.  A survey of the whole country has been made and the areas of Mountain, Moor, Heath and Down, together with all the registered commons, have been shown on a map known as the Conclusive Map of Registered Common Land and Open Country.

In Suffolk there is no mountain, moor or down (as defined) and the Open Country to which rights of access apply is heathland.

What does Access Mean.

Subject to certain limitations mentioned below, members of the public may wander at will over Access Land as shown on the Conclusive Map for most recreational activities such as walking running, bird watching and sightseeing.

Restrictions and Limitations

There are several restrictions that may apply from time to time The following are the main ones:

Dogs must be under control and  - between 1st March and  31st  July - must be on a short lead because of the disturbance to nesting birds.

You must not ride a horse or bicycle or mechanically propelled vehicle.  You may not camp, have organised games, swim or use boats, or use a metal detector.

You may not remove anything from the site - including plants or fallen timber.

You should follow the Countryside Code at all times.

A landowner may restrict access for up to 28 days in a year for any reason.  Generally this is likely to occur when shooting is taking place.

Longer term closures can be applied for particular reasons, such as seasonal protection of vulnerable wild life and it is known that we will not be able to go onto several of these heaths between the end of February and the beginning of November.

Certain categories of land are exempt from the access provisions. In particular : buildings and the land attached to them, golf courses and military training areas.

Signs and Notices.

Access land is to be signed by a silhouette man against a white background in a circular disc. There will be additional notices and information boards.

Where is the Access Land in Suffolk

Access land is shown on the Conclusive Map and new editions of the Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Explorer Series will show access land.

The following is a summary of the major sites in Suffolk :-

Registered Common

There are several substantial areas of Common in the north of Suffolk at Stuston Common, Wortham Ling, Mellis Green and Wortham Long Green, Great Green and Little Green.

There are also large commons in the east of the county, in particular Sutton Common, Upper and Lower Hollesley Common, Rushmere Heath, Aldringham Common and Thorpeness Common, Tunstall Common and Blaxhall Heath.

In the north-west is the extensive Lakenheath Warren and elsewhere there are several small local commons spread through Suffolk.

Open Country

Most of Suffolk’s area is good agricultural land.  Open Country (i.e. Heath) occurs in either the eastern coastal strip, known as The Sandlings, or in the north west known as The Brecks.

The main areas of open country in The Sandlings are:-

Aldeburgh : North Warren

Aldringham : The Walks;

Blythburgh : Newdelights Walks, Lumphall Walks and Toby’s Walks

Dunwich Heath

Snape Warren

Westleton Heath and Westleton Walks

Walberswick : Tinkers Walks, East Sheep Walk and Walberswick Common  and areas adjoining the commons at Sutton and Hollesley

The main areas of open country in The Brecks are:-

Barnham : Thetford Heath

Cavenham & Tuddenham Heath

Eriswell : Foxhole Hearth and Weather Heath

Icklingham : Berner's Heath, Deadman's Grave, Horn Heath and Icklingham Plains

Knettishall Heath


Wednesday, January 23, 2019