The right of public access

The right of public access

The right to move freely in the countryside – the right of public access, or ”allemansrätten” – is an asset in Sweden. However, this is not a question of some legislation, but rather an old, time-honoured right from the time when the Swedish people mostly lived in the countryside. Naturally, there are common rules of conduct that apply through various laws, and they are summarised in the following main points.

It is not permitted

  • to damage fences or neglect to close gates
  • to pitch a tent for longer than 24 hours or to intrude on someone’s privacy by pitching it too close to a home without the landowner’s permission (however, the owner’s consent should always be obtained)
  • to pick plants protected by law or dig them up by the roots
  • to damage land, trees, bushes or crops (no breaking of branches on growing trees)
  • to travel without permission across a lot or cultivated area or other property that is thereby damaged
  • to use a jetty, buoy, well or other facility that belongs to another person
  • to litter
  • to be noisy – for example, by playing loud transistor music
  • to take a bird’s nest or eggs
  • to fish or hunt without permission
  • to build a fire when there is a risk it might spread or cause other damage, such as cracks in rocks or outcroppings

This is permitted

  • to walk across another person’s land outside of a lot
  • to swim by a shore that is not within a lot
  • to pick flowers, berries and mushrooms growing wild outside a lot
  • to make camp for 24 hours, but not too close to a lot and preferably with the landowner’s permission
  • to build a fire outside a lot if that can be done without risk of spreading and with fuel it is permissible to use. (However, this right should be used with the greatest caution during the summer)
  • to walk, ride and cycle on a private road

If we are to retain our priceless asset, the right of public access, it is necessary that we proceed with care in forests and on land for the pleasure of all of us and for future generations.

Welcome to Gotland!