For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Sunday, 9 August 2020

Right to Roam

 My last post here coincidentally coincided with an article in the Guardian reviewing:

The Book of Trespass by Nick Hayes.

The review is long but worth persisting even if you don't get to reading the book. In fact one feels one has almost read the book entirely after reading the review, but there is much food for thought and for anybody with an interest in enjoying our countryside in any shape or form I recommend this as a worthwhile read.

There may be some comment arising from this post and I have it in mind to write later with my own thoughts on this subject.


  1. Sounds a fascinating book. I tried to buy it, but it’s not out to July 2021 !!! I’m always amazed at how slowly traditional publishing works.

  2. Ruth Strange. Makes one wonder how the reviewer read it, but it seems he is a pal of the author which may explain?

  3. He probably got a pre-release draft version.

  4. You're looking at the paperback edition. Hardback and Kindle editions are published next Thursday August 20th.

  5. Gosh, such secretiveness. Anyone would think the book described the Manhattan Project and had come out in 1944. Do you fear over-influencing your commenters?

  6. Just read the review.
    It, no the book, leaves me a little uneasy.
    I'm all for the right to roam on open countryside but I have no desire to tramp across Lord so and so's lawn, that I would find embarrasing. From the review I get the impression, rightly or probably wrongly, that Nick Hayes wants to reform the aristocracy in one sweep of his pen [keyboard]
    I do agree that the National Trust should open up their lands for us all to enjoy. The word National is a clue.
    Not sure I would buy the book but I will keep tresspassing on a small harmless scale.

  7. To all -This discussion must exclude Scotland where different rules and law prevail: a subject with its own pros and cons.

    I have trespassed in England and Wales for as long as I can remember. That generally applies to using questionably private tracks, roads, and footpaths marked on the OS map where a long diversion would be the alternative or where I want to visit a certain trig point or summit. If it is obvious who the land owner is and they are identifiable and contactable at my point of entry I would ask permission but on sprawling farmland that is rarely obvious - the farm could be a mile away and there is no guarantee they would be at home and who knows who owns what? So I press on, but with respect.

    To trespass across managed farmland where no route is indicated on the map is folly. You will invariably find yourself in a field without an exit tempting you to climb a wall, savage a barbed wire fence or otherwise potentially cause damage or suffer a long backtrack. Even for those of us who respect the land and do our best to behave sensibly there are still those who don’t. They leave behind litter, damaged property and allow dogs to worry livestock. To make a national issue as suggested by the author would only encourage more of that offensive behaviour. To legally open up managed farmland land to all and sundry or to actually promote rampant trespass for the sake of it would be just plain stupid.

    What would be useful is the provision of better marked “preferred” routes and some increase of “permissive paths" through private land by the landowners which would stop many people wandering about trying to find their own route. I have often suggested that to landowners on poorly marked public footpaths and they often tell me it is the responsibility of the local authority, but surely the effort required to stick a sighting pole in a field where the far boundary is not visible must be minimal. It would also be a good thing if more people knew how to use a map and compass to take a proper bearing.

    Making a nationally publicised issue about all this is against everybody’s interest and will only serve to encourage more conflict.

    My commenter (above) and good friend BC. reminds me of similar conversations I have had about meeting some gamekeeper or landowner in the middle of moorland miles from any road or habitation where the annual footfall is perhaps less than half a dozen and we suggest providing some indication of a route - “If I do that there’ll be hoards of folk trampling all over the place in no time.” If this author’s suggestions are implemented that gamekeeper's prediction, although unrealistic in his domain, may become more likely in more accessible areas.