AS walkers prepare to exercise their new countryside access rights at the height of the grouse shooting season, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging shoot managers to beware of confused or misinformed ramblers straying into danger.
"It's now more likely that the public may accidentally encounter a shoot, especially as the new access land can be entered at any point even where there's no footpath," said Dorothy Fairburn, the CLA's Yorkshire director.
She said that the CLA had been advising shoot managers to apply for the permitted access restrictions in good time and had asked the Countryside Agency to ensure any restriction was adequately signposted. The pheasant shooting season is also due to start on October 1.
With land in parts of the Pennines due to be opened from Sunday (September 19) the CLA is increasingly concerned that people still don't understand precisely where they can go or that access may be temporarily restricted due to activities such as shooting.
"Shoot managers who have reviewed their plans or applied for the land to be closed are still concerned because they are encountering people who wrongly believe that there is now a right to roam over the whole of the countryside," she added.
CLA Yorkshire's advice to shoot managers includes:
- Apply for a restriction on public access to the mapped access land areas
- Work with relevant agencies to ensure proper signposting
- Ensure there is adequate public liability insurance and that insurers have been informed of the change of status of the land
- Consider using extra beaters to direct the public to a safe route.