Public rights of way
Please note that, during this time when unnecessary movements are discouraged, access to Main Reception and the Map Room has been restricted. We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but would appreciate your understanding at this very difficult time. A representation of the Public Rights of Way network is available online; however, it is not the Definitive Map.
Public Rights of Way Update – Annual Path Maintenance
Contractors will be starting work early in May to keep some of the better used paths clear of vegetation, as they usually do. Please be aware of social distancing rules when you encounter these contractors.
Cotswold Way Closure:
Please be aware that part of the Cotswold Way (Footpath MCA 7) running from the canal, crossing the River Frome and connecting with the cycle track at Ebley, Cainscross, is temporarily shut due to an unsafe bridge. The alternative route is via Stroud Cricket Club following the canal towpath and cycle track. A plan showing the alternative route on it can be found here.
Information relating to Temporary Closures on other Public Rights of Way in Gloucestershire can be found by clicking on the button below.
Public Rights of Way, provided under the Highways Act 1980 and use of Access Land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000: Covid-19
Exercise remains important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing, so the government has said people can leave their homes for exercise and health reasons.
The National Farmers Union and Country Land and Business Association have told us that some landowners are still concerned about increased use of public rights of way on their property increasing the risk to livestock, such as instances of gates being left open and dogs not being controlled.
Further concerns have been raised by stakeholders that the use of public rights of way that run through gardens, farmyards and schools is increasing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus to residents and farm workers.
The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow the Government’s instructions to maintain social distancing.
Government advice about the public’s use of green spaces is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-guidance-on-access-to-green-spaces
Landowners do not have the legal right to block or obstruct public rights of way or access land. However, in very limited circumstances where large numbers of people are using such routes, landowners may consider the following measures:
- tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers/riders do not need to touch the gate.
- temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools. Notices may be downloaded from this webpage.
- Note: this is a polite request only, and there is no power under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) or the Highways Act 1980 for landowners to close or obstruct a public right of way or use of access land.
- offering an alternative route around gardens and farmyards only where it is safe to do so (you must gain permission from relevant landowners and make sure the route is safe for users and livestock) provided that the original right of way is maintained.
Key points to Note
- Under Section 137 the Highways Act 1980, it is an offence to obstruct free passage along a public right of way.
- It is an offence under Section 57 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 to display a notice that contains “any false or misleading statement likely to deter the public from using” a right of way.
- It is also an offence under section 14 of the CROW Act 2000 to display a sign which deters the public from exercising their right to use that access land
- It is an offence under Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980 to display on the surface of a public right of way or on any tree or structure within the public right of way any unauthorised sign or mark.
- Land owners may be liable for personal injury under section 2 of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957 and Section 1 of the Occupiers' Liability Act 1984 if they are reckless or intend to create a risk – for example by offering a dangerous alternative.
This means that
- If a land owner offers an alternative route, they must ensure that it is safe to use and that the existing right of way or use of access land is maintained so that users with differing abilities have a choice.
- A notice must not imply that there is any doubt about the use of the existing right of way or use of access land.
We have provided posters for people living near a Public Right of Way to remind people about Coronavirus:
Covid-19 PROW Poster - Alternative Path Black and White
Covid-19 PROW Poster - Alternative Path Colour
Covid-19 PROW Poster - No Alternative Path Black and White
Covid-19 PROW Poster - No Alternative Path Colour
These temporary measures must be lifted as soon as social distancing measures are relaxed.
This information was last updated on the 12 May 2020
What is a public right of way?
Public rights of way are open to everyone at any time and give you the right to walk, ride a horse or cycle along certain routes. Some rights of way are open to vehicles.
You can use the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) form to report a problem with:
- a sign
- an animal
- an obstruction
- overgrown vegetation
- the misuse of a path
- a structure on the path
- the surface of a path
If you have any other issues please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note the update service is temporarily unavailable - we apologise for any inconvenience.
Public rights of way are sometime closed temporarily. Click the button to see the current list.
What is a definitive map and statement?
It is a legal record of the public rights of way and shows the routes of each public footpath, bridleway, restricted byway and byway open to all traffic in the county.
You can view the original map at Shire Hall during office hours (no need to book an appointment)
This is not the definitive map but our attempt to show the data in an electronic format
Definitive Map Modification Orders and Public Path Orders
It is possible to change the Definitive Map by applying for a modification order or public path diversion order.
There are three types of modifications:
- Deleting the public right of way from the Definitive Map
- Adding a public right of way to the Definitive Map
- Altering the status of a public right of way already recorded e.g. footpath to bridleway
If you wish to apply to vary the route of an existing Public Right of Way, please contact our Public Rights of Way Department via email@example.com (marked FAO PROW Team).
If you wish to apply to add or delete rights of way, or to change the status of paths already shown on the Definitive Map (either through the submission of 'user evidence', or 'historic documentary evidence', or a combination of both), please contact our Modification Orders Team via firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of Current Diversion/Extinguishment Orders - PPDOs
(under Section 118/119 of the Highways Act 1980)
Please note that an Order to extinguish, divert or create a public right of way is firstly "Made" and published. There is then a 28 day period for representations or objections. Before an Order is "Confirmed", any objections have to be resolved and works to a new path completed. Once the Order is "Confirmed", it is then subject to a further 6 week 'procedural' review period. Once that period is over, and assuming no other relevant issues arise, the change can be shown on the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way and the 'digitised' PROW map.
To query a Diversion/Extinguishment Order email: email@example.com
Register of Definitive Map Modification Order applications:
The Council must maintain a Register of all applications for Definitive Map Modification Orders made under s.53 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act (Statutory Instrument: 2005, no.2461). We are required to maintain this Register with effect from 31 December 2005. There is an online version of the Register; however, a paper copy of the Register is also required to be kept for public inspection at the Shire Hall Offices.
View the Modification Order Register on-line
You can search the online Register for applications by either parish, village or nearest town; we have not provided a facility to search by postcode, as this is considered to be of limited value in identifying the location of any claimed path.
If you prefer you can use the Ordnance Survey Election Map
Please also note that the names and addresses of the applicant, and any affected landowners, have been removed from the actual Register, to avoid any possible unwarranted distress to the individuals concerned.
The technical issues which had led to the status of some applications being shown incorrectly have been resolved, but the occasional error may remain. We will aim to investigate, and correct if necessary within 28 days, any error which is brought to our attention.
Highways Act 1980, Section 31(6) depositions
Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 enables a landowner to deposit with the highway authority a map and statement showing the ways (if any) that he/she admits are dedicated as highways. The deposition will provide a degree of protection against claims for additional rights of way based on deemed dedication. It can be kept in force by the landowner submitting Declarations and Statements of Truth at intervals of no greater than 20 years. As from 1st October 2013 a new application form for S31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 has been combined with a statement under S15(A) of the Commons Act 2006.
A fee for both dispositions is payable as follows;
Highways Act 1980 s31(6) depositions and renewals
- £200 for landholdings up to 2 hectares in one locality
- £500 for landholdings over 2 hectares or in multiple locations
Commons Act 2006 s15A(1) landowner statements
- £400 per landholding up to 10 land parcels
- £100 for each additional 10 parcels up to a maximum of £700
On acceptance of the application the information for both types of deposition is added to the on-line register for public inspection and for Commons Act statements only notices are put up on site.
Gloucestershire Local Access Forum (GLAF)
This forum consists of interest groups such as walkers, cyclists, equestrians, disabled users and landowners. It advises the county council regarding access to the countryside and public rights of way matters. If you would like to find out more, or are interested in joining the forum email GLAF@gloucestershire.gov.uk
View the GLAF meeting papers on-line
How can I volunteer?
To become a path volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in touch with your local group, or contact your parish/town council.