In a clear attempt to emphasise their desire for open dialogue with the wider public the Ramblers have published their response to the Forestry Panel’s questions on the Save Our Woods website.
In response to the question What do forests and woods mean to you? it says:
A walk in the woods is one of life’s simple pleasures.
In a bold move the Ramblers call for a right of access to all woodland, both public and private-owned.
Read the Rambler’s response here
If woodland was purchased in order to conduct private activities that necessarily require a controlled area without other people in it, extending open access to such an area would be an act of theft unless the state also purchases the land at the original purchase price plus inflation index.
I tend to agree – particularly on the basis of subsidy and access – but only if there is a level playing field with agriculture which on average received 10 times the subsidy per acre compared to forestry.
The comparisom with Scotland needs to be treated with caution due to the massive difference in population density and thus access pressure.
The call for open access to private woodland seems especially justified where private owners are in receipt of public subsidy.
The argument that this is already in successful operation in Scotland (as well as almost all other European countries) is persuasive.