What rights do members of the public have to access isolated areas of open access land, if any at all? That is to say areas of access land which are (i) not crossed by and do not adjoin any public rights of way or (ii) areas of access land which are separated from all other nearby access land and rights of way by excepted land. Examples of such land can be found in these two locations:

As far as I can tell, no specific provision is made for cases such as this in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000:

“means of access”, in relation to land, means

(a) any opening in a wall, fence or hedge bounding the land (or part of the land), with or without a gate, stile or other works for regulating passage through the opening,

(b) any stairs or steps for enabling persons to enter on the land (or part of the land), or

(c) any bridge, stepping stone or other works for crossing a watercourse, ditch or bog on the land or adjoining the boundary of the land.

This appears to make the implicit assumption that the relevant access land will be adjacent to some form of right of way.

  • 1
    The property may have an access easement. If the other property owner didn't explicitly grant such an easement, there is also mention on that page of "easement by necessity". – Nate Eldredge May 8 '19 at 22:05
  • Looking at both of your examples on Google Maps satellite view, the first has obvious access via a path and the second has no clear barrier between it and the land to the north of it (and on to the road). I'd suggest that in those specific cases, the Streetmap information might be wrong or incomplete - but that doesn't answer your underlying question. – user4210 May 9 '19 at 0:14
  • You are quite correct in your observation about the first example, however that track isn't recorded on the definitive map as used by Ordnance Survey (shown on Streetmap). For example 2 the railway line that forms the eastern border of the parcel of access land is excepted land (as defined in schedule 1 of the CRoW Act 2000) separating it entirely from the access land on the opposite side of the railway. – o.comp May 9 '19 at 8:10
  • There is a further example of this occurring here streetmap.co.uk/… – o.comp Apr 12 at 13:48

If, as your question stipulates, there are no public rights of way (such as an easement) to the enclaved public area, then you must gain permission from the private landowner to cross their land before accessing the public area.

If it's possible to fly over the private land using something like a helicopter or a plane, as long as you fly high enough, That wouldn't require permission.

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  • Likewise, you could dig a tunnel deep enough. – Greendrake May 17 at 7:47

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