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Professional Resources

Public rights of way

Information for parishes and communities.

Public rights of way allow the public to walk, or sometimes ride, cycle or drive along specific routes over land which belong to someone else — this includes public footpaths, bridleways. The existence of a right of way is shown on the Definitive Map data.

Types of public rights of way

Public footpaths

Rights of way for pedestrians only. Dogs may be taken on suitable routes.

Public bridleways

Rights of way for pedestrians and riders of horses or bicycles (who must give way to people on foot or on horseback).

Restricted byways

Rights of way for all traffic except motor vehicles and motorbikes.

Byways open to all traffic (BOATs or BOTATs)

Right of ways for all traffic (including motor vehicles) but are mainly for use by pedestrians and horse/bicycle riders. 

Responsiblities

Leicestershire County Council

The chief role of the county council is to ensure the public can use paths and this includes taking action over obstructions. Their responsibility also includes tackling natural surface growth, maintaining public bridges and providing signs at the start of paths and way markers along the route.

Parish councils

Parish councils have some maintenance powers on footpaths and bridleways.

District/borough councils

The district/borough councils, as with all public highways, deal with fly-tipping, dog nuisances and other anti-social behaviour. Their planning role also affects public paths.

Farmers and landholders

Farmers must ensure livestock are safe and cross-field paths are kept clear of crops. They can plough-up footpaths and bridleways but must reinstate them after 14 days. Landholders must ensure stiles and gates are safe; and should maintain trees, hedges and fences next to paths.

The police

The police have the legal powers to tackle crime, vehicle misuse, and intimidation.

The public

The public should keep to the official path routes, be alert for hazards, and wear clothes and shoes to cope with overgrown or muddy spots whatever the weather.

Reporting problems

You are able to report any problems on a rights of way by using our Report it form. This allows you to report problems such as overgrown paths, crops, obstructions, misleading signs, or damaged bridges, stiles or gates.

When using the form please remember to:

  • always use this online form to report new issues — add photos where possible
  • provide phone and/or email details for the original reporter for follow up details where required
  • provide exact location details — reports often can’t be followed up due to lack of clear information 
  • note that ‘nice to have’ requests are unlikely to be practicable — resources must be focused on what is critical to keep paths safe and usable.

The Definitive Map

The Definitive Map is the official record of the existence, status and location of public rights of way, first compiled in the 1950s based on surveys by parish councils and urban district councils. If a way is included on this map it is conclusive legal evidence a specific route is a public right of way.

To change the Definitive Map any agency or individual can formally apply to the county council, requesting a Definitive Map modification order to add, delete, or alter the status of a path. See current applications.

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