Rights of way (public paths)
You can walk on all public rights of way. Some are also open to horse riders, cyclists or motorists.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gave people more freedom to walk on open countryside. This applies to open access land, which has been opened to the public for walking.
On a right of way you can:
- walk dogs on a lead or under close control
- take a pushchair or wheelchair, although this can be difficult if the surface is uneven or muddy
- take a short route around an illegal obstruction (e.g. fences or crops) or move it to get past.
Types of path
There are four types of path and you can use different paths for different activities. They are signposted from the roadside, with markers along the route. You should always keep to the marked route.
Footpaths are marked with yellow arrow.
Only walkers can use footpaths
Bridleways are marked with blue arrows.
Walkers, horse riders and cyclists can use bridleways.
Restricted byways are marked with burgundy arrows.
Walkers, horse riders, cyclists and horse and cart users can use restricted byways. Cars and motorcycles are not allowed.
Byways are marked with red arrows.
Walkers, horse riders, cyclists car users, motorcyclists and and horse and cart users can all use byways.
Many paths go across or around fields that contain crops or have been ploughed and may be uneven or muddy. Public paths should be clear from obstruction and fences, gates and stiles must be in good condition, easy to open and unlocked.