How do I report a problem with a path?
You can report problems with rights of way online.
There are bulls near a path. What should I do?
Farmers shouldn't allow any dairy bull over ten months of age to range freely in any field through which a right of way passes, and should ensure that bulls of other breeds are accompanied by cows or heifers. Report the problem.
How wide is a right of way?
Paths may have a legally recorded width, either in the Definitive Statement (which accompanies the Definitive Map) or by legal enactment, ie an order diverting/creating the path at a specific width or say, an Inclosure Award (ask your County Archivist about these).
The Rights of Way Act 1990 provides widths for paths subject to ploughing and cropping. If someone disturbs the surface of a path s/he may be guilty of an offence under this act and therefore be required to reinstate the path in accordance with the legislation. Byways open to all traffic (BOAT) may not be ploughed under any circumstances.
1.0 metre for a crossfield footpath
2.0 metres for a crossfield bridleway
1.5 metres for a field edge footpath
3.0 metres for a field edge bridleway.
Can a path be ploughed?
Farmers may plough a crossfield path only if they cannot avoid doing so. If a path is ploughed it must be reinstated within 14 days. It’s illegal to plough field edge paths and byways. Report the problem.
There is a crop over the path. What do I do?
Walk the path. You have the right to do so. Some crops become impenetrable such as oil seed rape. In this case you may have to walk around the edge of the field. Report the problem.
The gate/stile is defective. What do I do?
It's the duty of the landowner to keep stiles and gates in repair. Report the problem here.
Must I keep my dog on a lead?
You’re required to keep you dog under control. Watch out for local byelaws, which may prohibit you letting your dog off its lead. Enjoy the countryside but be considerate to landowners.
Can I drive a motor vehicle on a footpath or bridleway?
To drive a motor vehicle on a footpath or bridleway without "lawful" authority is a criminal offence. Lawful authority can be interpreted as having the consent of the owner of the land.
Can I ride my bicycle on a right of way?
You may ride your bicycle on a bridleway or on a byway. To ride a bicycle without consent on a footpath is an act of trespass.
Where can I ride my horse?
On a bridleway or byway. To ride a horse without consent on a footpath is an act of trespass. You’re committing an offence if you ride your horse on the pavement next to the carriageway. Although this is often the safest place to ride you could be stopped by the police.
What about obstructions on paths?
If you encounter an obstruction on a path, report the problem. You are advised not to remove obstructions yourself. Remember, there could be stock in the field or the person responsible may have obstructed the path for a reason. You're allowed to try and find a way around without causing damage or trespassing too far around the obstruction.
I have been prevented from using a path. It’s not on the Definitive Map but I have used it for years. What do I do?
Discuss this immediately with your local rights of way officer. If a path has been used for 20 years by the public without "let or hindrance" it may have become a right of way. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides a procedure to claim a path. Contact us for more information.
Where can I see a Definitive Map and Statement?
We have a duty to make the Definitive Map available for public inspection. It is always available to view at our offices. Certified copies are also deposited with district councils and some parish councils. If you ring and make an appointment you will be able to see the document. Contact us to view them.
How do I protect myself from claims for paths?
Contact us and ask to make a Highways Act Section 31 deposit. This will enable you to register your land with the Highway Authority for a period of time to prevent claims from the date of the deposit.