Patchetts Green Bridleways Trust
 PG: OBJECTS: CREATION: Express Dedication By Landowner - "Access Land"

Any land owner can dedicate a strip of land as access land under s.16 Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The land owner can set out which types of user have access, and so can specify whether or not bicycles are permitted.

The access land dedication is recorded as a local land charge instead of appearing on the definitive map.

Access land at Stilegates, Bushey
Photo: dedicated access land on the Bushey/Aldenham parish boundary

The Trust was involved in the first ever dedication of access land following the passing of the 2000 Act. This dedication was for walkers only, but served as a precedent.

Further information, and model forms for making the dedication, can be found on the DEFRA web site. Note, however, that the Trust believes that signatures to the DEFRA model form should be witnessed in the same way as a deed of dedication for a bridleway, and that the DEFRA model form does not have a space for this.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Section 16

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person who, in respect of any land, holds-

(a) the fee simple absolute in possession, or
(b) a legal term of years absolute of which not less than 90 years remain unexpired,
may, by taking such steps as may be prescribed, dedicate the land for the purposes of this Part, whether or not it would be access land apart from this section.

(2) Where any person other than the person making the dedication holds-

(a) any leasehold interest in any of the land to be dedicated, or
(b) such other interest in any of that land as may be prescribed,
the dedication must be made jointly with that other person, in such manner as may be prescribed, or with his consent, given in such manner as may be prescribed.

(3) In relation to a dedication under this section by virtue of subsection (1)(b), the reference in subsection (2)(a) to a leasehold interest does not include a reference to a leasehold interest superior to that of the person making the dedication.

(4) A dedication made under this section by virtue of subsection (1)(b) shall have effect only for the remainder of the term held by the person making the dedication.

(5) Schedule 2 to the Forestry Act 1967 (power for tenant for life and others to enter into forestry dedication covenants) applies to dedications under this section as it applies to forestry dedication covenants.

(6) Regulations may-

(a) prescribe the form of any instrument to be used for the purposes of this section,
(b) enable a dedication under this section to include provision removing or relaxing any of the general restrictions in Schedule 2 in relation to any of the land to which the dedication relates,
(c) enable a dedication previously made under this section to be amended by the persons by whom a dedication could be made, so as to remove or relax any of those restrictions in relation to any of the land to which the dedication relates, and
(d) require any dedication under this section, or any amendment of such a dedication by virtue of paragraph (c), to be notified to the appropriate countryside body and to the access authority.
(7) A dedication under this section is irrevocable and, subject to subsection (4), binds successive owners and occupiers of, and other persons interested in, the land to which it relates, but nothing in this section prevents any land from becoming excepted land.

(8) A dedication under this section is a local land charge.

Occupiers Liability Act 1957, Section 1 (as amended by Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 s.13)

(4) A person entering any premises in exercise of rights conferred by virtue of—

(a) section 2(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, or
(b) an access agreement or order under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, is not, for the purposes of this Act, a visitor of the occupier of the premises."

Occupiers Liability Act 1984, Section 1

(1) The rules enacted by this section shall have effect, in place of the rules of the common law, to determine —

(a) whether any duty is owed by a person as occupier of premises to persons other than his visitors in respect of any risk of their suffering injury on the premises by reason of any danger due to the state of the premises or to things done or omitted to be done on them; and
(b) if so, what that duty is.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the persons who are to be treated respectively as an occupier of any premises (which, for those purposes, include any fixed or movable structure) and as his visitors are —
(a) any person who owes in relation to the premises the duty referred to in section 2 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 (the common duty of care), and
(b) those who are his visitors for the purposes of that duty.
(3) An occupier of premises owes a duty to another (not being his visitor) in respect of any such risk as is referred to in subsection (1) above if —
(a) he is aware of the danger or has reasonable grounds to believe that it exists;
(b) he knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that the other is in the vicinity of the danger concerned or that he may come into the vicinity of the danger (in either case, whether the other has lawful authority for being in that vicinity or not); and
(c) the risk is one against which, in all the circumstances of the case, he may reasonably be expected to offer the other some protection.
(4) Where, by virtue of this section, an occupier of premises owes a duty to another in respect of such a risk, the duty is to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case to see that he does not suffer injury on the premises by reason of the danger concerned.

(5) Any duty owed by virtue of this section in respect of a risk may, in an appropriate case, be discharged by taking such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances of the case to give warning of the danger concerned or to discourage persons from incurring the risk.

(6) No duty is owed by virtue of this section to any person in respect of risks willingly accepted as his by that person (the question whether a risk was so accepted to be decided on the same principles as in other cases in which one person owes a duty of care to another).

(6A) At any time when the right conferred by section 2(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 is exercisable in relation to land which is access land for the purposes of Part I of that Act, an occupier of the land owes (subject to subsection (6C) below) no duty by virtue of this section to any person in respect of—

(a) a risk resulting from the existence of any natural feature of the landscape, or any river, stream, ditch or pond whether or not a natural feature, or
(b) a risk of that person suffering injury when passing over, under or through any wall, fence or gate, except by proper use of the gate or of a stile.
(6B) For the purposes of subsection (6A) above, any plant, shrub or tree, of whatever origin, is to be regarded as a natural feature of the landscape.

(6C) Subsection (6A) does not prevent an occupier from owing a duty by virtue of this section in respect of any risk where the danger concerned is due to anything done by the occupier—

(a) with the intention of creating that risk, or
(b) being reckless as to whether that risk is created.
(7) No duty is owed by virtue of this section to persons using the highway, and this section does not affect any duty owed to such persons.

(8) Where a person owes a duty by virtue of this section, he does not, by reason of any breach of the duty, incur any liability in respect of any loss of or damage to property.

(9) In this section —

“highway” means any part of a highway other than a ferry or waterway;
“injury” means anything resulting in death or personal injury, including any disease and any impairment of physical or mental condition; and
“movable structure” includes any vessel, vehicle or aircraft.

Occupiers Liability Act 1984, Section 1A

In determining whether any, and if so what, duty is owed by virtue of section 1 by an occupier of land at any time when the right conferred by section 2(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 is exercisable in relation to the land, regard is to be had, in particular, to—

(a) the fact that the existence of that right ought not to place an undue burden (whether financial or otherwise) on the occupier,
(b) the importance of maintaining the character of the countryside, including features of historic, traditional or archaeological interest, and
(c) any relevant guidance given under section 20 of that Act.
© 2007 Patchetts Green Bridleways Trust. Extracts from Acts of Parliament: © Crown Copyright