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A collection of all the best spiritual articles published here on Spiritual England

Spiritual Articles

Our Birth Right to Roam

We all need free and easy access to nature

There’s little to argue about with this statement - we’re a part of nature, we come from it and we ultimately return to it. Without access to nature, we are unhealthier in every conceivable way, whether that’s physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. It brings us joy, it grounds us, it provides education, adventure, and exploration; it can be both harsh and nurturing, simultaneously breath-taking and life-giving.

headgehog scurrying

Perhaps most importantly, as our daily lives become ever more embedded in screens and machines, nature disconnects us from the virtual and reconnects us to reality.


In this article


The Right to Roam, Our Access to Nature

I’ve been fortunate to grow up near a lot of easily accessible countryside in the Peak District and I was astonished to recently read how only 8% of England’s countryside is available to the public. My privileged position ensured I enjoyed the Lockdowns, but I was keenly aware of the vast majority of people who were trapped in their concrete cells, unable to access and benefit from the natural world which surrounds us.

This terrible situation at least served to bring to light the problems so many of us faced, regarding our ability to access nature and to partake of the many health benefits to be found there. It also prevented us from travelling abroad and forced us to take notice of this stunning island we inhabit. We might have to travel for hot weather, but if we seek adventure and beautiful scenery, well, we've got it all right here on our doorstep.

Fox English

I'm a big fan of the organisation Right To Roam and their campaign to bring our right to access nature into law. From what I know about them, they seem to be fun, engaging, and inspiring people who genuinely care about our environment and work relentlessly to gain access to it on behalf of everyone. It was reading about their campaign coupled with my recent experiences travelling which inspired me to write this article.

I’m currently moving around the south of England and find myself near Stonehenge, the 5,000-year-old prehistoric monument and a symbol of our ancient connection to the natural world. I just have to visit while I'm here, as it holds such spiritual significance for me, but little did I know I’d have to fork out £28 for the right... Only recently was I lamenting the reduction of my freedom to travel Europe since our exit from the EU, and I had no idea I don’t even have access to the vast majority of the country of my birth.

Destroying Nature

What really galls me is how our environment is being destroyed while we’re being barred from entering it.

I can request permission to camp in the countryside, as we recently did from a land-owner in the Peak District, but if I want a small fire then I could be looking at criminal damage charges. At the same time, any amount of fracking, mining, and deforestation could be going on around me. What if this is the reason we’re kept far away from nature, so we can’t see the damage being done to it?

Nothing to see here leslie neilson meme

When it comes to the environment, we’re always being told to do our part, and if we had access to the land around us, we would see what’s truly going on and begin doing our part to stop it. It all seems like a big environmental sleight of hand - we focus on the carbon footprint of our toilet paper and how much we flush at once, while they ravage the natural world right under our nose.

Our Polluted Rivers

This is even more obvious if you look at the situation of our water and rivers... We have even less access to our rivers than our land, with only 3.4% of our rivers accessible to this nation’s native peoples. When 86% of rivers fail to meet a ‘good ecological standard’, and 100% failed to meet chemical standards, yet the English public aren’t allowed to access them… It says all you need to know about where the real threat to our environment lies.

The biggest polluters appear to be sewage leaks from the water industry, an industry which is 71% owned by overseas organisations. That’s right, you could be arrested for paddling in the river nearby, while a foreign company profits from pouring sewage into it and selling your river water back to you via the mains. Permission to discharge untreated waste is granted whenever there’s an extreme weather event (such as lots of rain) and companies are using this excuse to pump ever larger quantities of sewage into our rivers.

Failed Regulations

It appears that ever-tightening regulations only work to restrict the general public, as emergencies are declared at every opportunity which allow companies to bypass them. How else can the government begin the ‘Largest overhaul of sewer system to tackle storm drainage discharges’ in 2022 and by 2023 we have the worst year ever for storm water pollution, with a 105% increase on the previous year.

regulations everywhere meme

This two-pronged approach of Regulation and Emergency isn’t unique to our Freedom to Roam and we should all be more awake to these abuses of power and authority.

Our Freedom to Live

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” - Martin Luther King Jr.

The Right to Roam is about more than the freedom to wander the hills and swim in the lakes, it’s about regaining our stewardship over the land upon which we reside. With this freedom comes the responsibility to engage with and care for the natural world around us, which has sadly been denied to us for far too long.

If you're wondering what you can do to help reclaim our rightful access to nature, visiting Right To Roam would be a great first step!

fox by julia bakay
Adam Pike - Holistic Healer

Looking for nutrition or health advice?

Get in touch with Adam Pike

Holistic Healer & Health Consultant | Director of Spiritual England


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