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

The sixth term of the statutory Forum started March 2023.

The function of the Forum is to advise the Council, Natural Resources Wales and other bodies about making improvements to public access for outdoor recreation and sustainable travel in the Council’s area. These bodies must, by law, have regard to relevant advice given by the Forum.

Members of the Forum are appointed in their own right, not as representatives of any organisation or user group. In appointing members to the Forum, the Council is required to ensure it includes users of local access land and local rights of way owners, and occupiers of access land and land with rights of way.

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 Forum considers a wide range of issues and advises on improvements to public access for open air recreation and enjoyment in the Council’s area, including public rights of way and the right of access to open country and registered common land. The Forum will consider all forms of access, horse riding, cycling and off-road driving, and not just access on foot.  The exact nature of this work is decided upon by the LAF itself, in agreement with the Council.

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

 Annual Reports

Apply to join

There are currently no volunteer vacancies.  Any new prospective applicant will be placed on a reserve list. 

Return application by

Return application by post:

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

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