We are supporting our partners Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Action Group (FWAG) to deliver an important project that will see existing voluntary access in rural parts of Norfolk safeguarded for the future.
Norfolk is a largely arable farming environment and has one of the lowest lengths of public footpaths per hectare in the country. Until recently the lack public rights of way were mitigated by the addition of hundreds of miles of permissive footpaths delivered under the Higher Level Scheme (HLS) component of Environmental Stewardship. The access element of the HLS has not been continued in the latest scheme which is called Countryside Stewardship. So as current agreements expire many existing permissive footpaths may disappear.
FWAG are now looking at how to support landowners to ensure that permissive paths remain and access to the countryside for communities and tourists is not lost in the coming years. Many rural businesses depend on tourism so access is of vital economic as well as social importance.