Public rights of way - Your questions answered

What is a public right of way?

Public rights of way are ways over which the public have the right to pass and repass. Public footpaths are for pedestrians only. Public bridleways are for pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists. Public byways are for pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists and motorised vehicles, subject to the character of the way.

Can I check if a path is a public right of way?

If you wish to check whether a path is a public right of way please contact us with all the details of your request and we will ensure that this is passed to the correct section for them to investigate and reply back to you direct. On receipt, an Officer will check the status of the route on the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way. If the route is not recorded as a public right of way it could be a claimed path. If the path is not recorded then the Council does not have any responsibility to maintain it.

Can you tell me if this is a private right of access?

Private rights of way are not something the council will become involved with unless there is also a public right along the same route. To find out if there is a public right along the same route please contact us.

Can a signpost be erected, replaced or repaired?

Yes, please complete the 'Report a problem with a public right of way' form.

Report a public rights of way problem

Please note, we have a considerable amount of requests for signposting and we are unable to commit to a time scale.

Can I find out if the route of a public right of way has been changed legally?

The route of the public right of way may have been legally altered and recorded on the definitive map and statement. If you want to report a public right of way that you think has been changed please complete the 'Report a problem with a public right of way' form.

Report a public rights of way problem

Who is responsible for gates leading to public rights of way?

Generally gates are the responsibility of the landowner.

Can I change or stop up the route of a path on my land?

Yes, there is a formal application procedure, with strict criteria which need to be met and a charge is made for the process. There is no guarantee of success as objections are often raised by user groups and individuals. Please contact us with your details and an officer will contact you.

Can bulls be kept in a field where there is a public right of way through the field?

Not if the bull is older than 10 months old, or if it is of a dairy breed mixed with cows.  

There is an aggressive horse or other animal in a field with a public right of way through it, can something be done about this?

A prosecution can be brought against a farmer when they knowingly place a dangerous animal in a field with a public right of way.

If you wish to report something you believe to be an dangerous or illegal obstruction complete the 'Report a problem with a public right of way' form.

Report a public rights of way problem

My concern or request isn't covered here.

Please contact us with full details for investigation and reply.