Hundreds of protestors walk at Scots Dyke for change in trespass laws

Trespass campaigners cross cumbrian border
The Right To Roam campaign group argue that the right to roam would make people feel more "welcome in their own country". Credit: ITV

English and Scottish campaigners have trespassed over the Cumbrian border in a protest calling consistency in access laws.

Hundreds of Right to Roam campaigners crossed the border to action Westminster to introduce the same laws as Scotland, where the public have the right to walk responsibly anywhere in the countryside.

Currently the public in England only have permission to access the higher open-access ground, such as mountains, moors, heaths and downs that are privately owned. It also includes common land registered with the local council and some land around the King Charles III England Coast Path.

The campaign group argue that the right to roam would make people feel more "welcome in their own country".

Guy Shrubsole, Right to Roam campaigner, said: "There's only a right to roam over 8% of England. Whereas for the last 20 years Scotland has had a full right of responsible access."

"If we want to tackle the obesity crisis; mental health crisis, we need to be doing more to reconnect people to nature. And the easiest and cheapest way of doing that is through enacting a new right to roam act."

There's no right of way on Scots Dyke, where the protest took place on Sunday 24 September, which campaigners argue should be accessible by more than those who own the land.

The protesters are following in the footsteps of the 1930s Kinder Scout mass trespass which led to the rights of way in place today.

At present, trespassing isn't considered to be a crime but those who trespass in England can be sued.

Emma Linford, a campaigner for 'The Stars are for Everyone', also joined the protest and is calling not just for a right to walk, but a right to camp anywhere in England.

She said: "Because if we care for nature, we make different decisions as adults when we grow up. So we make decisions to care for our landscapes rather than extract from them, which is why we're in this terrible crisis we're in today."

Many landowners are in favour of the current legislation as it protects their ability to farm and produce food while minimising the risk of disease and contamination to animals and farmland.

Animal control measures on deer and grey squirrel populations also pose a risk to walkers on private land.

The Government says it has no plans to change the law, but have an ambition to ensure everyone is within 15 minutes of green or blue spaces. As part of this, they are spending spending £14.5 million on creating more paths to improve access to the countryside.

A Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Spokesperson said: "To restore nature and protect the livelihoods of people who live and work in the countryside, we need to enjoy its beauty responsibly. We must not replace our rights of way with a right to trample."Nadia Shaikh, Right To Roam campaigner, said: "If you're going to keep people from the landscape for hundreds of years regularly, culturally, there's going to be some real learning to do so. We can learn.

"It's not impossible that the English public can learn to close gates. If we invested in education around that and helped young people from a really young age know how to respectfully be in the outdoors, they've got a sense of ownership so they don't want to litter; they don't want to leave a mess.

"We haven't done any of that work. And so you kind of can't blame people for maybe going out in the countryside the first time and leaving a gate and not realising it."