Adventurers who like to head out to the crags with a climbing rope
should be given the protection of an access charter, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) has said.
The BMC has produced such a charter, which it argues is needed in light of the debate about access prompted by recent government proposals to sell off Forestry Commission land.
BMC access and conservation officer Catherine Flitcroft commented: "It is vital we lay down fundamental principles to protect public access for quiet recreation and enjoyment of the countryside."
Proposals include guaranteeing public land access before any sale, updating the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 in light of more recent legislation, plus facilitating greater use of old quarries by owners of climbing gear
Another issue mentioned was for laws on occupier liability to be adjusted to acknowledge the decisions climbers take regarding risks to personal safety.
One access case involving this insurance issue is the Vixen Tor dispute, where the landowner fenced off the famous Dartmoor landmark on the advice of insurers because of the possibility of being sued by any climbers who suffered injuries.