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Countryside Access (Local Access Forum)

Rhondda Cynon Taf's beautiful countryside and open spaces cover an impressive 80 per cent of the county borough.

Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the amazing and diverse scenery and views, from the rugged, dramatic landscapes left from mining in the Rhondda to the green, rolling hills of Taff Ely and the moors-like atmosphere of the mountain tops and Cynon Valley.

Local Access Forum

The County Borough Council has just gone through the process of re-establishing a statutory Local Access Forum (LAF), as required by the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act).

The fifth term of the statutory LAF ended January 2020.

The function of the Forum is to advise the Council, Natural Resources Wales and other bodies exercising functions under Part I of the CROW Act, as to the improvement of public access to land in the Council’s area for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area and as to other matters as may be prescribed. These bodies must, by law, have regard to relevant advice given by the Forum.

Regulations require the Forum to meet at least twice a year. However, it is anticipated that meetings will generally take place more frequently at a time and place agreed by the Forum members.

Areas of Work

The LAF will advise upon aspects of public access in the Council’s area, including public rights of way and the new right of access to open country and registered common land. The Forum will consider all forms of access, including horse riding, cycling and horse riding, cycling and off-road driving, and not just access on foot.

The Forum also assists with the implementation of RCTCBC’s Public Rights of Way Improvement Plan.

Apply to join

The Council is on the lookout for new members to join the sixth term of the Forum.

Return application by

Return application by post:

Public Rights of Way Officer
Countryside Section
Unit 7E Hepworth Business Park
Coedca Lane
CF72 9DX

Annual Reports

Open Access

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 brings a new right of access on foot to open country and common land, it also improves the laws for public rights of way. People will be able to access areas of countryside mapped as open country, this is land defined as mountain, moor, heath and down, common land and land designated as access land by the landowner.

The new open access land gives a greater access to the countryside for walking, running, climbing, bird watching and picnicking. There are some restrictions in the new access land, e.g. the new right of access does not permit the use of pedal cycles or motor vehicles on the new access land.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 also gives landowners the opportunity to dedicate areas of land to become access land. Natural Resources Wales has dedicated all the forests that they own, though there are some forests which are on leased land, these are not dedicated.

The open access land opened in May 2005, you can find out where the open access land is by emailing or visiting Natural Resources Wales. All the open access land and the dedicated forestry open access land is plotted on the Ordnance Survey Maps, Explorer Series.

Access Signs

These access signs indicate where;

Access Signs
access land begins... 
Countryside access 1
and ends....  counctryside access 2