Rights of Way responsibilities
Stiles and Gates
Maintenance of stiles and gates is the responsibility of the landowner, but the County Council check that they are safe and easy to use. New stiles and gates require authorisation. We encourage the replacement of stiles with kissing gates or gaps, so that paths can be used more easily.
Gates suitable for wheelchair, power scooter and pushchair are available but there is no obligation for these to be provided. Similarly, there is no obligation on the landowner to make allowance for dogs to get through stiles.
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On rights of way the County Council, is responsible for:
- Ensuring that they are free from obstruction and can be used by the public
- Clearing surface vegetation and ensuring that it is in a fit condition
- The maintenance of some, but not all, bridges
- Signposting and way marking
- Authorising stiles and gates
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Fly tipping is illegal, a burden to landowners and seriously affects enjoyment of the countryside. As well as larger items, garden refuse dumped over back fences is also a common problem on rights of way.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is the responsibility of the local District or Borough Council to remove rubbish from all rights of way. Please contact the environmental health department of your local district authority to report problems of this nature.
Anything that impedes access along a right of way is an obstruction, unless it has been authorised by the County Council. This includes growing crops (other than grass) where the path crosses arable fields as well as fences and possibly buildings.
If you believe that a public path has been obstructed, you can report it to us.
Widths of public rights of way
Is there a legal width for public rights of way?
We can tell you the widths of some paths from the records we hold. There may be a stated width
- if the path was created by a legal action such as inclosure
- diversion measurements were taken for the definitive statement.
If there are no written records then the width is the extent of land used by the public as a highway. Landowners should cut back vegetation from adjoining land.
Some minimum widths are laid down for the reinstatement of paths after ploughing
- Footpaths -1 metre for crossfield, 1.5 metres for headland
- Bridleways - 2 metres for crossfield, 3 metres for headland
Ploughing and Cropping Leaflet | Advice for landowners