Mapping the network

Rights of Way Definitive Map and Statement

All public rights of way in Buckinghamshire - footpaths, bridleways or byways - are recorded in the Definitive Map and Statement. If a way is shown on the map then that is conclusive evidence of public rights along the way unless there has been a legally authorised amendment. However, the fact that a way is not shown on the map is not proof that the public has no rights over it and, thus, the map may be subject to change.

We have a statutory duty, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to keep the map up to date. We also have a duty to investigate any application to add or delete rights of way or to change their status - either by upgrading or downgrading.

The map is accompanied by the Definitive Statement, which may contain more information about an individual path, such as start and end point, width of the way, etc. The Definitive Map is available for inspection at County Hall, Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies and at parish council offices. Alternatively Rights of Way can be viewed using our online map. 

Any  additional questions will cost £7.50 each.

The history of the Definitive Map and Statement

The first Definitive Map came into existence as a result of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, which required all County Councils in England and Wales to carry out a survey of their area and produce a map showing footpaths, bridleways and byways which were, or could reasonably be alleged to be, public rights of way. This was referred to as the draft map and was accompanied by a draft statement and was open to objection.

The Secretary of State dealt with all objections, either confirming or rejecting them, and a provisional map and statement was produced. This lead to the production of the first Definitive Map and Statement in 1957, in two sections, north and south, which were up to date as at 26 November 1953 and 14 April 1953 respectively. These dates are referred to as the relevant dates.

The 1949 Act laid down that the Map should be revised at 5-yearly intervals. The second Definitive Map was produced in 1965 with a relevant date of 14 April 1960. The third Definitive Map was produced in 1977 with a relevant date of 14 January 1966. These Definitive Maps were produced on 1:25000 scale. A third review of the Definitive Map was started in 1978, including transferring the map on to 1:10000 scale.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 changed the procedures for compiling the Definitive Map and came into force in 1983. The third review was abandoned. The Definitive Map is now under continuous review and changes are made to it by Definitive Map Modification Orders as and when they occur.

Five consolidated maps have been produced. The first shows the rights of way as they were on 31 December 1993. The second was produced in January 1997 showing the rights of way correct as at 31 December 1995. The third, correct as at 31 March 1999, was produced in March 2003; the fourth, correct as at 31 December 2002, in October 2004. The current Definitive Map and Statement, produced in March 2008, is correct as at 31 December 2007.


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