The Definitive Map and Statement

4/1/2022 1:00:04 AM

Buckinghamshire's Definitive Map and Statement

All public rights of way in Buckinghamshire are recorded in the Definitive Map and Statement.

If a way is on the map it is a public right of way, unless there has been a legal change. 

If it is not shown, this is not proof that the public has no rights over it and 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
  • investigate any requests to add or delete rights of way
  • or to change their status 

The map is with the Definitive Statement, which may contain information about an individual path such as, start and end point and the width of the way. 

It is available at Walton Street Offices, Buckinghamshire Archives and parish councils.

Apply for a Definitive Map extract £34.89

Any extra questions will cost £8.66 each.


Rights of way data for GIS software

The rights of way data across Buckinghamshire is now freely available to the general public, to download into their own GIS software system. In order to use this data, you will need a GIS system. 

Open Government Licence (OGL)

Rights of Way Dataset (ZIP, 1.53MB)


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.

All county councils in England and Wales are required to:

  • carry out a survey of their area
  • produce a map showing footpaths which were, or could reasonably be alleged to be, public rights of way
  • produce a map showing 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 which was open to objection. The Secretary of State dealt with all objections, confirming or rejecting them, and a provisional map and statement were produced.

This then lead to the production of the first Definitive Map and Statement in 1957, it was 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 Definitive Map is now under continuous review, changes are made to it by Definitive Map Modification Orders, as and when they occur.

Five consolidated maps have been produced.

  1. The first shows the rights of way as they were on 31 December 1993.
  2. The second was produced in January 1997 showing the rights of way correct as at 31 December 1995.
  3. The third, correct as at 31 March 1999, was produced in March 2003
  4. The fourth, correct as at 31 December 2002, in October 2004.
  5. The current Definitive Map and Statement, produced in March 2008, is correct as at 31 December 2007.

These maps are not available online, you can view public rights of way in Buckinghamshire.


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Last updated: 1 April 2022

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