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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

Email Highways.Helpdesk@bedford.gov.uk 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 and Country Planning Act 1990
  • Modification Orders – Wildlife and 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 amd Countryside Act 1981, however please contact The Definitive Map Team via Highways Helpdesk email Highways.Helpdesk@bedford.gov.uk in the first instance.

Excluded area consultation

Excluded area consultation project has identified several routes in the initial ‘phase 1’. 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.

A brief description of the process in DEFRA Circular 1/09 states:
4.37 The provisions enable an authority to prepare a definitive map and statement by building up from nothing a comprehensive record of the rights of way within its area through adding rights of way to a blank map and statement by means of orders made under section 53 of the 1981 Act. Once modified, that map and statement becomes the definitive map and statement for the area.

We have therefore created blank Infill Maps see below.

Further research and consultation will be carried out to complete the rights of way record within the former “Excluded Area”. There may be, for example, ways to be added that were created by public path orders made in the past; there may also be paths that are of relatively recent origin where the only evidence of their subsistence is that of users.

In the future it will be possible to amalgamate the set of Definitive Map sheets for the former “Excluded Area” into the existing Definitive Map so as to make a single ”seamless” Definitive Map for the Borough Council area. This process is referred to in Section 57A of the 1981 Act. In essence this consolidation of the records is just another aspect of keeping the Definitive Map under continuous review.

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