Information for Landowners
Most public rights of way run across private land.
- To find out if a particular piece of land is owned by Hampshire County Council look at our Estates website
- Otherwise, for land ownership information contact the Land Registry
- Information for Landowners
- Dogs on your land: Guidance for landowners 1.4mb pdf
If properly used and managed, rights of way can provide access to Hampshire's countryside, without causing disruption to the working or natural environment, and help improve the quality of life.
The Rights of Way team can help you to identify and manage rights of way and other access issues.
We can tell you if there are any recorded rights of way on your land; you may also look at our online maps, or inspect the definitive map at our offices.
We can advise on your rights and responsibilities, making changes to currrent Rights of Way, and will offer guidance on how to protect your land from new Rights of Way.
Small Grants Scheme
This scheme offers up to 50% funding to landowners towards work to improve access to their local countryside.
More information on the Small Grants Scheme
Protecting your land
Regular use by the public of an informal path, or land for lawful sports and pastimes, can result in those rights being formalised and recorded. You can protect your land against claims for public rights of way, or village green rights, by showing that, at the relevant time, you did not intend these rights to be acquired.
This can be done by physical actions such as displaying notices, fencing the land or locking gates. It can also be achieved by the deposit of a combined document, under a new provision in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. This allows you to submit a deposit under section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 and a landowner statement under section 15A(1) of the Commons Act 2006 on the same document.
With effect from 1 October 2013 Hampshire County Council will only accept Section 31(6) deposits on the new form CA16.
Find out how to make a deposit using Form CA16. You can deposit:
- A Highway Statement and Plan to show you do not intend to dedicate any further public rights of way
- A Highway Declaration to complete your protection under section 31(6)
- A Landowner Statement to end as of right use of land for lawful sports and pastimes
- Any combination of these
Giving permission to the public to use a path can protect it against becoming a public right of way. We would be happy to discuss the provision of permissive access with you. Please contact our Countryside Access Development Officer, tel 0845 603 5636.
You will be notified if anyone applies to record a new public right of way across your land. We have produced guidance notes to help you deal with such a claim. You are welcome to discuss the procedures with our Map Team, tel 0845 603 5636. If your land is subject to a claim for village green rights, you will be informed by our Commons Registration Team, tel 0845 603 5636.
It is a criminal offence to discharge a firearm over a carriageway without lawful authority or excuse if, as a result, a user of the way is injured, endangered or interrupted. A carriageway includes a restricted byway or byway open to all traffic. It is also an offence to have a firearm, together with ammunition, in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.
Though there is no right to close a right of way to allow shooting to take place, shoots should always be arranged in such a way as to avoid danger or inconvenience to users of the rights of way network.
Some rights of way over land occupied by the Ministry of Defence may be closed for operational reasons. The areas affected in Hampshire are on
- Chilcomb Range (Bridleways 3 and 4 in Chilcomb and Owslebury Bridleway 1)
- Barton Stacey (Moody Down Range – part of Footpath 2)
Red flags will be flown when the rights of way are closed
Further information on MoD closures.
The landowner must
- Keep back side growth and overhanging vegetation which may be encroaching onto the path
- Refrain from obstructing rights of way
- Refrain from ploughing a footpath or bridleway which constitutes the headland of a field, or runs alongside a hedgerow.
- Ensure that paths across fields are reinstated two weeks after ploughing and making sure that the line of a right of way is clear through crops
- Obtain the consent of the County Council before erecting new stiles or gates on rights of way and ensuring that all are kept in a safe and usable condition and replaced when necessary
- Not allow any dairy bull over ten months of age free range of any field through which a footpath or bridleway passes.
The landowner may
- Provide for improved access for dogs
- Protect land against the acquisition of further public rights on their land
- With our prior consent, improve the surface of the right of way beyond the standard required for its status (for example surfacing a footpath that also serves as a driveway)
Plough Crops and Paths A practical guide for landowners and tenants 259kb pdf
The landowner has the right to expect that visitors on their land will treat it with respect and care and follow the Countryside Code. The County Council will do what it can to ensure that rights of way are not used inappropriately.
Register of Landowner Deposits
New rights of way can be created through 20 years of unchallenged public use of paths.
Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 allows landowners to show that they accept the public rights of way already recorded over their land but do not intend to dedicate any new ones, by depositing statement and plans with the County Council. These are available for public inspection.
Section 15A of the Commons Act 2006 now allows landowners to protect themselves against claims for village green rights over their land, in a similar way. The deposits under these two sections have been combined into Form CA16, and these need to be renewed every 20 years.
Landowners must provide a map showing the boundary of the land, state clearly what is owned and who the freeholder is. The map must also clearly show the existing public rights of way. Form CA16 allows landowners to use all or only part of the form, depending on what rights they wish to disclaim. See 'Protecting your land' to find out about protecting your land with a CA16 deposit.
Hampshire County Council is required to keep a register of these landowner deposits. The register currently contains the deposits received since 1 October 2013, and all the previous deposits under the Highways Act will be added. The register contains scans of the deposits. Please note that there may be gaps between previous deposits.
The register is in the form of a searchable pdf. It can be searched by using the ‘find text’ feature.
The paper copy of each deposit can be viewed, by appointment.
Enquiries by email should be addressed to: email@example.com or by telephone to 0845 603 5636.