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Right to walk on private property in Europe?

Right to walk on private property in Europe?

Jun 19th, 2001, 01:51 PM
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Right to walk on private property in Europe?

A group of 100 business and civic leaders from the Seattle area visited Stockholm about a month ago. One of them, an editor at the Seattle Times, wrote this in a column this past Sunday:

At the same time, Swedes cherish their traditions and freedoms, as they define them. One I found particularly intriguing is what they call "Every man's right." This is the right of every individual to walk anywhere in the countryside, even on private property, even to camp overnight. It wouldn't work here, but it seems to work there.

When I was in the U.K. in 1979, on my first trip to Europe, I seem to recall a similiar "right", or tradition, there (I'm not sure about camping on private property, but I believe that walking across private property was allowed.)

Can anyone who lives in, or travels to, the U.K. explain exactly what "rights" a walker in the countryside has there? And does anyone know of any other countries in Europe that may have a similar right?

Jun 19th, 2001, 02:02 PM
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The Ramblers' Association (UK) has a nice FAQ about this subject at http://www.ramblers.org.uk/campaigns/rowfaq.html.
Jun 19th, 2001, 02:33 PM
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But the situation is different north and south of the border in the UK. In Scotland there is no criminal law of trespass..effectively you can go where you want so long as you don't do damage. There is also a tradition of wild camping. This is common law. the presnt governmet is legislating both north and south of the border onthis issue at the moment.

You have to remember that it is in a context where, today, a laird is trying to sell the Cuillins. A number of you who have visited here this year have said "How can you sell a mountain range?"

He can sell them,but I can wlak all over them!!
Jun 20th, 2001, 03:13 AM
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Sheila, I heard that legal difference was being "rationalised", though I bow to your superior knowledge!

I have been squeezed out of quite a few beauty spots in Scotland (zitlike) by (English) forestry workers (who claimed that down south they would have pulled the tent down without first asking me to leave) & gamies who knew we were upwind of the deer - after a week camping they could probably smell me overseas.
The situation is easier in Scotland, but having rights is different from getting them - my mates had to remove a number of keep off signs in Highland estates recently (gamies "forgot" to remove them after F&M).
Many (not all)of these people make it clear they don't want you on their land in or out of hunting season - rare birds of prey are still being poisoned by gamies.
Some are welcoming, depends on the owner, not on the law.
Most of the access in England was gained after acts of mass trespass by walkers, not gifted as a "right of man".
Foreshore is supposed to be free to walk on as it all belongs to the crown, but I've seen some private landowners running fences down into the sea.
Access is still a hot topic in the UK, you have rights but you have to assert them, thats one reason why we have ramblers organisations.
Jun 20th, 2001, 03:19 AM
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Every man's right is something that only prevails in the Nordic countries, Britons are a lot more restricting concerning their own property.

In the Nordic countries you can go anywhere but private property is also protected. You can't camp on anyone's front yard or anything but for example when going to pick berries in a forest you don't have to know whose property it is. You can still go camping or pick any berries. So the rights are a lot more progressive in the Nordic countries where only private front and back yards of houses are restricted.
Jun 20th, 2001, 09:47 AM
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Thanks for the info, everyone.

Marpha, since the editor I mentioned in my post had written "the right of every individual to walk anywhere in the countryside, I'd assumed places like the front and back yards of houses would be off-limits, but I really appreciate your clarification.
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