Maintaining public rights of way

1. Managing reported issues

Problem Severity

Path Status








Within 5 working days

Within 10 working days

Within 15 working days




(Ploughing/cropping and maintenance items)

Within 3 Months

Within 4 Months

Within 6 Months



(Other enforcement)

Within 3Months

Within 5 Months

Within 6 Months




Within 3 Months

Within 6 Months

Basic maintenance Within 12 Months; position statements with monthly website updates



(Programmed Improvements)

Within 6 Months



(Improvements – not Programmed)

No Timescale Requirement


Path Category

Category 1

Approximately 30% of the network

  • The Thames Path and The Ridgeway National Trails
  • The 37 County Council Promoted routes
  • Canal Towpaths
  • Paths known to have high-volume usage

Category 2

Approximately 25% of the network

  • Health Walks routes and promoted Parish routes
  • Routes within 0.5km of a settlement boundary
  • Other routes within the Chilterns AONB

Category 3

Approximately 45% of the network

  • The remainder of the network

Problem severity definitions

High severity (A)

Problem reported or identified by the County Council as an immediate or potential danger or nuisance to the public requiring priority action or other action that is time-limited

  • Hung up tree or branch
  • Potentially dangerous structure
  • Electric fence across path
  • Fallen tree completely blocking path or partially blocking bridleway
  • Dangerous animal
  • Aggressive landowner / intimidation
  • Shooting near to or across path

Medium severity (B)

Ploughing/Cropping and maintenance items

Problems reported or identified by the County Council that do not present a danger to users

  • Path obstructed due to undergrowth or overgrowth
  • Missing signpost / replacement signpost / Waymarking
  • Routine structure repair / replacement
  • Disturbance of surface of a path
  • Path obstructed due to growing crop
  • Path reinstated but to less than minimum requirement

Medium severity (C)

Other enforcement items

Issues where action may be commenced quickly but may take longer to fully resolve

  • Complete obstruction of path
  • New or recent erection of fence across path
  • New or recent encroachment
  • New or recent unauthorised structure on path
  • Electric Fence / Barbed Wire adjacent to path uninsulated / not signed

Low severity (D)

Issues that can be classified as minor, technical infringements often reported only by user group survey, issues that can be addressed as and when resources available / in the area

  • Path being used by public not on definitive line
  • Horses on footpaths not causing damage
  • Cycling on footpaths not causing damage
  • Surface out of repair (non-specific danger)
  • Signpost repair
  • Structure improvement
  • Requests for dog access
  • Fallen tree on path where public are deviating around
  • Path diversions, except where formal applications submitted
  • A long-standing obstruction with the public happy to use alternative.

Improvement (I)

All improvement works. A 6-month timescale is allocated once works are programmed.

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Last updated: 12 March 2019

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