Walking is still the most popular form of outdoor recreation in Wales with 71.4% of Welsh residents having participated in it as a recreation activity at least once in 2016. Running is also a very popular pastime with 16.9% of the population having participated in it in the same period (National Survey for Wales, 2017).


Running and walking can be arranged into the following definitions:

  • Individuals walking - Walking, Hill walking
  • Individuals running - Trail Running
  • Informal groups - Walking groups, running clubs, Nordic Walking groups
  • Events - Commercial running events, charity events, sponsored walks, walking festivals, triathlons
  • Commercial activity - Outdoor recreation coaching and guiding

Note: This does not cover activities such as rock climbing and gorge walking

Where you can run or walk without needing our permission

Individuals, groups, events and commercial running and walking activities have a right to use any Public Rights of Way (including Footpaths, Bridleways, Restricted Byways and Byways Open to All Traffic) that cross the land managed by NRW.

We have designated much of the land we managed as Open Access Land. This means individuals and informal groups don’t need to ask permission to use it, so long as it is not closed for public safety, management or environmental reasons. However, these rights do not extend to commercial activities.

When you’ll need permission from us

  • If you are planning any commercial activity on permissive routes or Open Access Land, you will need our permission to proceed
  • As set out in our Guiding Principles, we reserve the right to charge for commercial activity, to cover the cost of management

How we support running and walking

  • We will follow our Guiding Principles for community involvement with land that we manage.
  • We provide and promote many miles of permissive walking and running trails and enable community groups to create their own.
  • We will keep up to date information on Public Rights of Way, Promoted Routes and Open Access Land on our places to visit map. This includes information on areas that we have had to restrict access due management operations or events.

What you’ll need to do

  • Follow the Countryside Code and the Trail Users Code at all times
  • Be aware of and respect other users on our land. Irresponsible or antisocial behaviour on shared routes can lead to conflict with other users and could potentially be a risk to public safety. Give way to people on horseback when on shared routes
  • Adhere to all our signs. NRW land is a working environment and failure to follow safety signs can be dangerous for both the individual and others
  • Follow our ‘Keep It Clean’ guidelines to prevent the spread of invasive species and causing biosecurity threats
  • Find out how we manage our land for Visitors with Dogs
  • Take care not to cause erosion or to damage vegetation, particularly in sensitive areas such as ancient semi-natural woodland, sand dunes and marsh habitats. Intensive use can also damage trail surfaces, making them impassable to other people
  • Always be careful not to disturb birds or animals. They are particularly vulnerable when breeding, with young and in winter
  • If you’re organising an event, please give us sufficient warning and don’t publicise dates and locations until confirmed with us. Follow national governing body rules and best practice guidance and take down signs/notices after the event has taken place
  • Avoid using trails set aside specifically for other user groups e.g. mountain biking or horse riding
  • When visiting in a large group, it is advisable to let us know you are coming so we can help accommodate you
  • If you are planning a running and walking event or any other commercial activity on Public Rights of Way, please let us know your plans well in advance to ensure that there nothing happening that could impact on your event

How you can apply for permission

It will normally take up to 12 weeks to assess an application and complete an internal consultation. This will make sure that your activity or event can be carried out safely without affecting others who are using or working on our land. 

Apply for permission to film, organise an event or carry out an activity on our land

Who you can contact for more information

If you’d like further information, you can find out more using the following links:

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