About public rights of way

Rights of way in East Sussex

East Sussex has around 2,000 miles (3,218km) of footpaths, bridleways and byways, providing access to some of the most beautiful countryside in the County. The County Council manages these paths to ensure that they give safe and easy access for the public.

Maintenance of the public rights of way is the responsibility of both the County Council and landowners. Find out more about what we maintain and also landowner responsibilities in our pages,

What are rights of way

Rights of way are legally recorded public highways across privately owned land. They are all documented on a legal record known as the Definitive Map and Statement, and also viewed on our,

Types of rights of way

Public footpath – for use by walkers only. You can also use a pushchair or wheelchair on a footpath, but the nature of the path may mean this is not possible. Accompanied dogs are allowed but must be kept under close control – find out more about,

Public bridleway – for use by walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Cyclists should give way to walkers and horse riders.

Byway open to all traffic – sometimes referred to as Byways, BOATs or Green Lanes. These can be used by motorised vehicles, horse-drawn carriages, cyclists, horse-riders and walkers. 

Restricted byway – for use by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and horse-drawn carriages.

Permissive routes

There are also other footpaths and bridleways in East Sussex that are not recorded on the Definitive Map. These are known as permissive routes, where the landowner allows public access across their land but has the right to withdraw or restrict public access if they wish. As they are not legally recorded the County Council has no powers to maintain them or ensure they remain available.

Open Access Land

You can walk freely on mapped areas of down land, heathland and some registered common land, as well as mountains and moors. Find out more and view maps of open access land in England through the, rights of way and accessing land, website,

Further information

If you have any questions concerning a public right of way in East Sussex please contact the Rights of Way Team.

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