Rights and Responsibilities
1. Users responsibilities
A right of way gives users a right to pass and re-pass
along a route and to deviate around any obstruction they may come
across. Any other use on private land may be trespass unless you
have the permission of the landowner or some other right to be
there. Users of rights of way should follow the Countryside Code
that reads as follows:
- Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
- Leave gates and property as you find them
- Protect plants and animals, and take your litter
- Keep dogs under close control
- Consider other people
- Walkers should be prepared to wear boots or
wellingtons in poor weather as paths can become very muddy.
2. The Borough Council's
Maintaining path surfaces, including controlling
natural vegetation and keeping them free of obstructions.
This Council carries out an annual clearance programme
for many field-edge paths.
Signposting paths where they leave a metalled road and
also waymarking where they are difficult to follow.
Installing and maintaining bridges over natural
watercourses, such as streams and ditches.
Many Acts of Parliament cover rights of way but the
principal one is the Highways Act
– drawn up in 1959 and updated in 1980. Public rights
of way are effectively minor highways and the legislation mainly
relates to obstructions, and failure to maintain. Legislation also
exists to protect the public from such issues as misleading signs,
dangerous animals and intimidation.
3. Landowner and Occupier
- Not obstructing paths including the placing of
plain, barbed or electrified wire across them and warning users of
any potential dangers near rights of way
- · Keeping hedges and other overhanging or
encroaching vegetation cut back
- Not ploughing or disturbing field edge
- Only ploughing cross field paths where they
cannot be reasonably avoided
- Within 14 days of ploughing/cultivation,
restoring paths that cross fields so that they can be seen and are
- Ensuring stiles and gates on their land are in
- Not erecting any new stile, gate or other
structure on any right of way without the Borough Council's
- Following rules relating to bulls – i.e. to not
allow any dairy bull over ten months of age to be at large in any
field through which a public right of way passes
- Provide adequate bridges where new ditches are
made or existing ones widened
- Landowners and farmers may shoot on their land
but not in such a way as to endanger the public using a right of
Dairy Breeds are: Ayrshire, British Holstein, Dairy
Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry.
All other breeds of bull are allowed, but must be accompanied by
cows or heifers.
Dairy| gif image,
18kb Beef| gif image,
4. Other Responsibilities
The Council also has responsibilities relating to
planning, dog fouling, fly tipping and litter
under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Landowners are responsible for removing litter from their own
property whoever put it there.
The Borough Council is responsible for administering
planning applications. From 6 April 2008 there will be a mandatory
standard planning application form and associated information
requirements. The application form will require applicants to
provide details of public rights of way to ensure they are
considered at the start of the planning process and allow the
planning authority to assess whether a proposal might impact on
public rights of way.
Other Councils – Parish Councils can also get involved in the
maintenance of and improvements to the rights of way in their
What is a public right of