Outdoor groups alliance in for access in Wales

Outdoor Access Wales was formed with the purpose of having a joint voice for membership organisations involved in supporting responsible access for recreation on the land and coast of Wales. Photo: Girls MTB N Wales

Outdoor groups alliance in for access in Wales

The representative bodies for walkers, disabled ramblers, cyclists, equestrians, mountaineers, cavers and those who enjoy recreational activities in, on or beside water have for the first time decided to work together as the alliance, Outdoor Access Wales, in order to respond to the Welsh Government’s proposals to improve public access to the countryside.

"Taking forward Wales’ sustainable management of natural resources” is the latest consultation from the Welsh Government. It seeks views from the public on new regulatory approaches to manage Wales’ natural resources sustainably, and makes a number of recommendations to update and improve current laws on accessing rural Wales.

Outdoor Access Wales was formed with the purpose of having a joint voice for membership organisations involved in supporting responsible access for recreation on the land and coast of Wales. It wants to help more people to enjoy their leisure time in a world class Welsh outdoors. The alliance believes the benefits of improved access is not solely about increasing the potential for people to enjoy recreational activities, but will also improve the health of a nation, help users to respect the environment, privacy, safety and livelihoods of those living or working in the outdoors, and strengthen rural economies through an increase in tourism. 

The alliance brings together The British Horse Society, British Mountaineering Council, Cambrian Caving Council, Cycling UK, Disabled Ramblers, OpenMTB, Open Spaces Society, Ramblers Cymru and Waters of Wales. While each organisation has individual concerns related to the area of special interest, they are united by their shared aim to improve access in Wales for active outdoor activity. 

A spokesperson for Outdoor Access Wales said:

“Being active in the Welsh outdoors is already integral to how many people in Wales spend their leisure time. Wales also has a growing reputation as an attractive destination for so many outdoor activities for people across the UK, but it could be so much better. The Welsh Government has clearly recognised this potential, and Outdoor Access Wales will work with the government to help make Wales a world class destination for those who love the outdoors. 

“Outdoor Access Wales shares the Welsh Government’s ambition for improved access to the outdoors for non-motorised recreation. It’s going to mean more people of all ages and abilities can take pleasure in the beauty of Wales right from their doorstep. It’s also going to prove a real draw for people from further afield who will want to visit and explore our villages, coast and countryside, bolstering the rural economy as they do so."

Contact information 

For further information contact:

British Horse Society: Seona Shuttleworth on 02476 840521, 07773031025, pressenquiry@bhs.org.uk 
British Mountaineering Council: 01690 720124 or elfyn@thebmc.co.uk 
Cambrian Caving Council: 07740 871 845 or ccc@linetop.co.uk 
Cycling UK: 01483 238 315 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org 
Disabled Ramblers: 07964 552 941 or arthurlee@sky.com 
Open MTB: email stace_king@hotmail.com 
Open Spaces Society: 01491 573 535 or hq@oss.org.uk 
Ramblers Cymru: 02920 646 823 or email kate.marshall@ramblers.org.uk 
Waters of Wales: go to http://www.watersofwales.org.uk/contact_us.php 

Notes to editors 
  1. Outdoor Access Wales is an alliance of user organisations currently consisting of: British Horse Society;  British Mountaineering Council; Cambrian Caving Council; Cycling UK; Disabled Ramblers; OpenMTB; Open Spaces Society, Ramblers Cymru and Waters of Wales www.outdooraccesswales.org
  2. “Taking forward Wales’ sustainable management of natural resources” is available for download at: https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/taking-forward-wales-susta...
  3. As the largest equestrian charity in the UK, The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting bridleways and footpaths in the countryside, safety for horse and riders. The Society’s thriving and active community of staff and volunteers is committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere. www.bhs.org.uk
  4. The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is the representative body that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers in England and Wales. https://www.thebmc.co.uk/
  5. The Cambrian Caving Council is the National Representative Body for caving in Wales and the Marches.  It is comprised of caving clubs and similar organisations with major underground exploration interests. http://www.cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk/
  6. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  7. Disabled Ramblers, a national Charity, exists to help mobility-challenged people get back out into the countryside by using mobility scooters capable of travelling over rough & uneven ground. These scooters are legally permitted to be on footpaths and bridleways. To make paths more suitable for Disabled Ramblers, what is needed is the removal of man-made obstructions i.e. stiles and steps. www.disabledramblers.co.uk
  8. OpenMTB is a network of representatives from mountain biking groups across England and Wales – including advocates, volunteer trail builders, guides, writers and more. www.openmtb.org.uk
  9. The Open Spaces Society is Britain’s oldest national conservation body, founded in 1865. It campaigns to create and conserve common land, open spaces and public paths. http://www.oss.org.uk/
  10. Ramblers Cymru is the representative body for walkers in Wales. We work to promote walking, open up new places to walk and to develop path networks. We are part of the Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity. It is the only charity dedicated to looking after paths and green spaces, leading walks, opening up new places to explore and encouraging everyone to get outside and discover how walking boosts your health and your happiness. http://www.ramblers.org.uk/wales.aspx
  11. Waters of Wales (WoW) is a community of independent campaigners for legislation enshrining public rights of responsible access to inland water in Wales http://www.watersofwales.org.uk/
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