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The Definitive Map and Statement

​The Bedford Borough Definitive Map and Statement are the legal records of all the county's public rights of way (footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic).

  • The Map shows the routes of public rights of way and their status
  • The Statement describes the route and any restrictions upon it

View the Definitive Map and Statement

Call 01234 228833 to arrange to see the Definitive Map and Statement. The Map is published at a scale of 1: 5000. The Statements are published on A4 pages, one statement per page.

They are available for public inspection at:

Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford
MK42 9AP

We also maintain working copies of the map that detail any changes made to the rights of way network since the last consolidation. This is held at:

Highways and Transport
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford
MK42 9AP

Town and Parish Councils also have copies of the maps for their area.

Buy copies of the Definitive Map and Statement

Copies of the Map and Statement are available for purchase. Rights of Way Charges and Fees - 2019 (PDF).

Changes to the Map and Statement

Changes can be made to the map and statement and fall into two main categories:

  • Public Path Orders – Highways Act 1980, Town & Country Planning Act 1990
  • Modification Orders – Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981

A member of the public may apply to the Borough Council for a modification order in respect of a public footpath, public bridleway or Byway Open to All Traffic and produce evidence to show that the application falls into one of the following categories:

  1. A right of way shown on the map and statement does not legally exist      
  2. A right of way legally exists but is not shown on the present map and statement            
  3. Other particulars contained in the Map and Statement are incorrect and need amendment.     

To apply for a modification order you have to follow the procedure laid down in the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, however please contact The Definitive Map Team via Highways Helpdesk Tel: 01234 718003 in the first instance.

Excluded area consultation

Excluded area consultation project has identified 29 routes in the initial ‘phase 1’. This equates to some 3561 metres of soon to be recorded rights of way. We have consulted widely with those whose properties are affected or abut a route along with local Councillors, utilities, police etc.

We are now consulting internally and seeking permission to make an Order for each of these routes. Soon the Orders will be advertised in the local press and on site and this will allow for a wider, more formal, statutory consultation to take place.

The next phase will rely on volunteers to help research and identify used but unrecorded routes. If you are interested in becoming involved in this or just want more information please contact:

Definitive Map Team
Bedford Borough Council
4th Floor Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford
MK42 9AP

or email  highways.helpdesk@bedford.gov.uk

Definitive Map timeline

Preparation of the map started in the early 1950s after the passing of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The Map is mainly based on surveys undertaken by parish councils and documentary evidence. Various stages Draft Map, Modified Draft Map and Provisional Map were followed before the Definitive Map for North Bedfordshire was published in May 1982.

Under the terms of the above Act urban areas could and were excluded from the survey that led to the production of The Definitive Map. The urban area of Bedford was excluded and this is detailed on The Definitive Map.

Since the map was first published it has been further consolidated. The consolidation process allows us to republish the maps on a modern Ordnance Survey base incorporating any changes that have been made to the network.
 

  • Parish Council Survey                         Prior to April 1953 
  • Draft Map Published                           June 1953 
  • Modified Draft Map Published          October/November 1966 
  • Provisional Map Published                November 1977 
  • Definitive Map Published                   May 1982 
  • 1st Consolidated Definitive Map      December 1999 
  • 2nd Consolidated Definitive Map     January 2004 
  • 3rd Consolidation Definitive Map     February 2008
  • 4th Consolidation Definitive Map     December 2010
  • 5th Consolidation Definitive Map     December 2015