Responsibilities on Rights of Way

What we maintain

  • Surface repairs - to ensure paths are in a suitable condition for path users. Please note there is a waiting list for surface repairs. Where a right of way also has vehicle access, landowners have the same responsibility.

  • Surface vegetation – to ensure paths are accessible. We carry out clearance throughout the county during the summer, covering 50-100 miles of paths.

  • Bridges – we maintain most bridges on rights of way, including timber boards over ditches and larger bridges over streams. If a bridge is also required by a landowner for private vehicular access we may share the costs with them.

  • Steps - to provide easier access. We maintain them to ensure they are safe to use.

  • Signposting - at the roadside and path junctions. We also install discs where needed.

Landowners and occupiers

  • Stiles and gates should be safe to use and not obstruct the path. Gates should not be locked. Stile kits can be ordered from the Rights of Way Team for £65.
  • Trees, hedges and fences alongside paths should not obstruct the path or reduce the width. They should not pose a safety risk to path users.

  • Obstructions and encroachment – paths should not be obstructed or encroached in any way. This includes anything that will prevent path users accessing the path or post a risk to them.
  • Ploughing and cropping - paths across arable fields should be available and visible at all times. For example, by marking them out with a tractor. Crops should be cleared to at least 1 metre for a footpath, or 2 metres for a bridleway. Headlands paths should be at least 1.5m for a footpath or 3 metres for bridleways.

  • Animals known to be dangerous should not be kept on land where a right of way crosses. Bulls over 10 months old should not be kept on land where a right of way crosses. With the exception of beef bulls, but they must be accompanied by cows or heifers.
  • Misleading or intimidating signs that deter path users must not be on or next to a public right of way. Please contact us for guidance of appropriate wording.