Access and Right of Way

Using Public Rights of Way

A Right of Way is a path that anyone has a right use on foot, and sometimes using other modes of transport.

  • Footpaths - for walking, running, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs
  • Bridleways - for walking, horse riding, bicycles, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs
  • Restricted byways - for any transport without a motor (such as horse-drawn carriages and pedal cycles) and mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs
  • Byways Open to All Traffic (BOAT) - for any kind of transport, including cars (but they’re mainly used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders
  • Permissive footpaths – take you over private land that isn’t a right of way. The Landowner allows the public to use the route but can withdraw the permission at anytime
  • Permissive bridleways– take you across private land where the landowner has granted permission for the public to use it. The Landowner has the right to withdraw permission.

Rights of Way Officers are required to record, manage, maintain and improve the rights of way network in their Local Authority. Each also manages the Definitive Map, which highlights all the Rights of Way in their Borough and to which new paths can be added. 

Each Local Authority works with Landowners, voluntary groups and other associations to make sure the existing rights of way are protected and produces a Rights of Way Improvement plan available to download via their websites.

For general information about public rights of way visit the GOV.UK website.

The Ramblers website also has great information regarding Rights of Way.