Exclusions and restrictions

Restrictions to open access land 

Open access land may be closed in certain areas from time to time - for reasons such as land management, tree felling, public safety, fire prevention or conservation. If you are visiting open access land, it's important to take notice of information provided or signs showing that land is closed. The Countryside Code also has useful advice to help you respect, protect and enjoy the countryside to get the most out of your visit. 


The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 allows access restrictions to be used on CRoW access land. Restrictions can exist in different forms. Examples include: 

  • Excluding dogs
  • Keeping people to specified linear routes
  • Requiring people to enter only at specified points
  • Imposing specific restrictions on what can be done when on the land
  • Excluding public access completely 

For simplicity, the word restriction is used here to cover both restrictions and exclusions of all types. 

Restrictions can be introduced in three different ways: 

  • At the discretion of the landowner or tenant
  • By direction of the relevant authority on request from someone with a legal interest
  • By direction of the relevant authority without an application being made 

The types of restrictions are described below. These restrictions only apply to CRoW access land. None of them has any effect on public rights of way or on land that is accessible to the public under other legal instruments (ie Section 15 land). 

Explanation of the Provisions of the Act 

  • Section 22 allows the entitled person to restrict use of the CROW rights at this discretion for up to 28 days in each calendar year
  • Section 23 (1) gives the landowner (but not any tenant) the power to exclude all dogs from moors used for the breeding and shooting of grouse. The period of exclusion is for no more than 5 years;
  • Section 23 (2) enables an owner-occupier or tenant (but not the owner of tenanted land) to exclude all dogs from fields or enclosures needed for lambing. In this context, a ‘field or enclosure’ can be no more than 15 hectares. Dogs can be excluded for one period only, of no more than six weeks, in any calendar year
  • Section 24 Land Management purposes
  • Section 25 (1)(a) to avoid the risk of fire when conditions are exceptional
  • Section 25 (1)(b) to avoid danger to the public 

Public Rights of Ways (PRoW) are not affected by our exclusions or restrictions unless otherwise specified. 

Temporarily Excepted Land  

Sometimes we are informed about access land that has become Temporarily Excepted Land so we can inform the public about the location. This is land where access rights are suspended for reasons of development and will be in place again once the development has taken place eg a wind farm’ 

More information on Excepted land guidelines 


Map of exclusions and restrictions 

The map below shows information on where restrictions made under The Countryside Access (Exclusion or Restriction of Access) (Wales) Regulations 2003 are currently in place. It is also possible to view where they will apply in future along with information about Natural Resources Wales sites to visit.   

View full screen map 


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