What is a public right of way?
It is not, strictly speaking, a path, but a right possessed by the public, to pass along linear routes over land at all times. Although the land may be owned by a private individual, the public may still gain access across that land along a specific route.
The mode of transport allowed differs according to what type of public right of way it is. Public rights of way are all highways in law, but the term 'Public rights of way' is generally used to cover more minor highways.
The following are types of public right of way:
- footpaths – on which there is a right of way on foot
- bridleway – on which there is a right on foot, horseback and leading a horse with an additional right for cyclists
- restricted byway – on which there is a right on foot, horseback, for cyclists and additionally carriage drivers There is no right for motorised vehicles
- Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) – all of the above with additional access for motorised vehicles
Any person or organisation can apply to the Council to create, divert or remove a public right of way that is recorded on the Definitive Map. This process is called a Public Path Order - view details on eligibility to apply and the application process.