It’s sad that tobogganing has been banned in parts of the United States and Canada because it is claimed to be dangerous.
In Scotland, the Outdoor Access Code, introduced as part of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, includes the right to sledge in the definition of ‘recreational purpose’ for which access rights are granted. It cannot be banned. Furthermore, customary skiing and sledging rights across golf courses are also recognised.
In England and Wales there is no such automatic right. However, where people have enjoyed tobogganing without permission or being stopped for 20 years, they may be able to claim the land as a village green and assert their rights to sledge there.
Applicants for greens often include tobogganing in the list of ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ when making a claim for a town or village green. For instance, the applicants for Sugary Green, Dartmouth, which was registered in 2011, included sledging among their activities.
Once land is registered as a green, local people have the right to exercise the activities they have enjoyed as of right for 20 years. If those activities include tobogganing, local people cannot be stopped from doing it (but people from further afield can). Moreover, the land is protected from development. The Open Spaces Society‘s website has a lot of information about this.
My friend Carmen Pekkharinen has also written about the toboggan ban on her blog, Life in Finland.