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Types of route

A Public Right of Way is a way over which the public has a right to pass, whether or not the land is privately-owned. Public Rights of Way are signposted at the roadside and may also be waymarked along the route. They can be of the following types:

Public footpath

Footpath signAccess on foot only, signed with a yellow arrow 

  • Some footpaths have widths recorded in our records. Many do not. Footpaths running between defined natural boundaries, such as hedgerows, run the full width between those boundaries
  • As a minimum, paths would normally be at least wide enough for two adults to walk side by side. We usually apply a minimum two metre width as a standard in the absence of any other evidence as to the path’s width
  • Where there is evidence of greater width being available in the past, we will apply that width by investigating the evidence
  • On arable land (where crops are grown), in the absence of any recorded width, footpaths should be at least one metre wide across a field and one and a half metres wide around the edge of the field
  • Stiles and gates provide access through hedges and fences; bridges across streams and ditches 

Bridleway

Bridleway signAccess on foot, horseback and pedal cycle, signed with a blue arrow

  • Some bridleways have widths in our records, many do not. Bridleways running between defined natural boundaries, such as hedgerows, run the full width between those boundaries
  • As a minimum, paths would normally be at least wide enough for two horse riders to pass. We usually apply a minimum four metre width as a standard in the absence of any other evidence as to the path’s width
  • Where there is evidence of greater width being available in the past, we will look to apply that width by investigating that evidence
  • On arable land (where crops are grown), in the absence of any recorded width, bridleways should be at least two metres wide across a field and three metres around the edge of the field 
  • Sufficient headroom (four metres) for horse and rider
  • No stiles.
  • Gates should be wide enough for horses and easy to open on horseback

Restricted byways

Restricted Byway signAccess on foot, horseback, pedal cycle and with non-mechanically propelled vehicles, signed with a purple arrow

  • A right of way for pedestrians, horse-riders, cyclists and horse-drawn carts and carriages.
  • Most Restricted Byways are former Roads used as Public Paths (RUPPs) reclassified by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Byway open to all traffic

Public Byway signAccess on foot, horseback, pedal cycle and wheeled vehicles of all kinds, signed with a red arrow 

  • Mainly used by the public for walking and riding
  • Surface may not be suitable for motor vehicles
  • Would normally be expected to be at least five metres wide but this is not exclusively the case 
  • Where there is evidence of greater width being available in the past, we will look to apply that width by investigating the evidence
  • Gates should be wide enough for vehicular access 

On rights of way you can:

  • Take a pram, pushchair, wheelchair, but expect to encounter stiles on footpaths
  • Take a dog under close control, preferably on a lead but be aware that there may be no way for dogs at stiles
  • Take a short alternative route around an illegal obstruction
  • Move an illegal obstruction sufficiently to get past

Follow the Country Code - respect, protect, enjoy

  • Be safe – plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people

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