The right to roam the countryside

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The Independent Online

Though the clamour rising from the shires over the fox hunting ban will drown out the cries of celebration this weekend, there can be no denying that the opening up of some 100,000 hectares of uncultivated land to Britain's ramblers is a historic occasion in the history of the countryside.

Though the clamour rising from the shires over the fox hunting ban will drown out the cries of celebration this weekend, there can be no denying that the opening up of some 100,000 hectares of uncultivated land to Britain's ramblers is a historic occasion in the history of the countryside.

Tomorrow, laws will come into force allowing walkers on to moors, downland, heath and common land in areas of the North-west and the South-east. Other regions will follow in coming months. At last, everyone will be able to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain.

It has taken 120 years of campaigning to get to this point and ramblers will take satisfaction in every footstep; providing, of course, they do not find their way obstructed by belligerent landowners. Farmers would be ill-advised to engage in a futile challenge to a piece of legislation that was passed some four years ago. Even the Country Land and Business Association, which long opposed the right to roam, now accepts it.

This week the country came to town. Now it's time for everyone to visit the country. We wish them a happy day's rambling.

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