Frequently Asked Questions

Countryside Stewardship

Permissive Access Register

Photo of Cornworthy

What is the Permissive Access Register ?

The register for Devon is one of a series. It describes on a county basis new or improved public access where this is a product of conservation initiatives run by the Countryside Commission. The Scheme transferred from the Countryside Commission to MAFF ( Ministry of Ariculture Fisheries and Food) in April 1996.

Most of the walks or sites are made available through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. This is a national countryside conservation scheme which offers financial assistance to landowners and farmers who are prepared to help in actively conserving the countryside, its wildlife and historic features and, in appropriate cases, to offer the public the opportunity to see and appreciate what is happening to the land.

All access described in the register is available to the public free of charge.

View register for Devon.

Click for further information about where to walk and ride in Devon.

What are conservation walks?

The access described in each register varies in what it offers the visitor. Often it will be primarily of value to people living or staying locally. Some facilities are suitable for families to relax or take a stroll, some offer an opportunity to explore an area of particular interest, perhaps for its wildlife or historic remains, some offer a stop-off point or place for a quiet picnic, some provide a vigorous walk.

Members of the public are invited to make full use of these areas. Visitors are asked to observe the Country Code and to respect the interests of the farmer. Dogs should be kept under control and, where requested, on a lead.

Most sites are in the farmed landscape where people continue to earn a living from the land. Very often appropriate farming practices such as livestock grazing are the key to good conservation management. The Countryside Commission's aim is to combine this with opportunities for people to enjoy the area in the belief that the two can be complimentary.

What is the legal status of these walks?

Most of the access described in the register is a product of agreements which last for 10 years, in all cases it is permissive and provided by the farmer or land manager for the public by virtue of a conservation agreement with MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food).

Any existing rights of access such as public footpaths which cross the land are not affected in any way.

In the interests of safety or to protect wildlife from disturbance during critical periods some routes or areas may be closed for short periods of the year.

How does the register work?

The register contains a map of the county showing the approximate location of each access site. The numbers on the map correspond to the numbered fact sheets which follow.

Each individual fact sheet provides the basic information about the site including the best time of year to visit, if appropriate. It also tells you what the site has to offer, and when the access provision is due to stop. Each fact sheet also contains a map to help locate the site, and gives you the Ordnance Survey Grid Reference for the centre of the site or route.

Visitors will normally need an Ordnance Survey 1:50000 Landranger map to help find the site. Each fact sheet gives the appropriate Landranger Map number.

In spring or early summer of each year the registers will be updated so that further facilities created over the previous year can be added.

Each site or route is identified by signs and waymarks on the ground. In most cases this will include boards with a plan at the main entry points.

For more information contact DEFRA in Devon at (01626) 892256.

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme provides information about other access opportunities in Devon.