Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ's
Q: Q: How do I report a problem with a bridleway, who to contact and where to find a Bridleway number?
A: IN ALL CASES, the EXACT location of the problem will be needed. Bridleway and Highway systems usually have maps for this but if not give a grid reference (at least 6 figures preceded by the 2 relevant letters - see OS maps for instructions). Take care at or near County Boundaries! Please send a copy email to: email@example.com so that the LRBA can chase if necessary. If you are reporting to the Police, please also report to the BHS on www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/safety/report-an-incident.
To view our list of contact details and links, please click here to open the PDF and then click on the link you need for your County and the type of problem you have. To find number of a specific Bridleway number on our PDF, please click on the corresponding link in the County / Finding Bridleways Numbers column.
The following few "Questions & Answers" came from IPROW - The Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management. To visit their website, please click here.
Q: What are the differences between the different types of Public Right of Way?
A: The following types exist:
• Footpaths: on which there is a right of way on foot.
• Bridleways: on which there is a right of way on foot, on horseback and leading a horse, with an additional right for bicyclists provided that they give way to other users; in some cases also with a right to lead or drive animals.
• Roads Used as Public Paths (RUPPs, superseded term): highways mainly used by the public for the purposes that footpaths or bridleways are used, but which may or may not carry vehicular rights. In some parts of the country RUPPs were reclassified individually as byway, bridleway or footpath and those remaining in 2006 became restricted byways.
• Restricted Byways: a new category created by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 with rights for all traffic except mechanically propelled vehicles.
• Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs): highways that are mainly used for the purposes that footpaths and bridleways are used, but on which there is a right of way for all traffic.
• Cycle Tracks: paths with a right of way for all types of pedal cycles (not mopeds), including electrically-assisted cycles, with or without a right of access on foot. (However, cycle tracks are not a type of right of way that have to be shown on a definitive map).
Q: What are ‘Green Lanes’?
A: This term has no legal meaning, but is used as a physical description of lanes that are vegetated underfoot or enclosed by hedges hence the ‘green’. The term is also commonly used by Councils for unimproved unclassified roads, which are recorded on the List of Streets and adoption records. Many are now shown on Ordnance Survey Explorer maps with green dots, and on Landranger maps with red dots. However, any individual ‘green lane’ might be a footpath, bridleway, restricted byway, byway or road, or have no public rights on it at all.
Q: What is a Permissive Path?
A: A permissive path is one which is used by permission of the landowner and not by right. Permission can be removed or suspended and the route or level of permitted use (i.e. whether on foot, horse or vehicle) may be changed at the wish of the landowner. Permissive paths may add valued links to the rights of way network but are more difficult to take into account when route planning, particularly for visitors, as they may be known only to local people, may change or be seasonal and are temporary in nature, even if long-term. Some long-term permissive paths are shown on Ordnance Survey maps. Some permissive paths arise from public funding through environmental management schemes or other grants. There is no legal protection to users of a permissive path and no requirement on the landowner to maintain it.
Q: What can be done about Motorbikes Riding on Footpaths and Bridleways?
A: This is a criminal offence if done without lawful authority, which may be the landowner’s permission, and even with permission it can still be an offence if motorbikes are ridden inconsiderately or cause damage. The legislation is enforceable by the Police as for other road traffic offences. It is sometimes possible to provide physical barriers that will prevent users of motorbikes gaining access to footpaths, but this is usually less effective on other routes. Ultimately, the Police have powers to confiscate motorbikes and prosecute riders where an offence has been committed.
Q: What can I do on a Right of Way?
A: This depends on the status of the route in question, but in general terms you are allowed to pass and re-pass as a genuine traveller, and undertake closely allied activities such as stopping to rest or look at views. Wherever there is a right of way on foot there is also a right to have certain accompaniments, such as a pram or pushchair where accessible. You have no right to undertake unrelated activities such as metal-detecting or flying model aircraft. Certain organised events such as races may also not be allowed, or may require permission. Contact the Public Rights of Way Officer of your local authority for further details.
Q: What offence is committed if a Horse Rider uses a Footpath?
A: This is not of itself an offence unless horse riding is prohibited by a traffic regulation order or a bylaw but it may be a civil wrong (‘tort’) against the owner of the land, so a horse rider may be committing trespass. It is possible that higher rights may exist that have not yet been recorded, and if so it would not constitute trespass. However, if a horse rider caused significant damage to a path they may have committed an offence of criminal damage, and a tort against the highway authority. If the horse riding affected the rights of legitimate users of the footpath the rider may also be guilty of causing a public nuisance.
You should find all the information you need in the various sections of this website; but if you feel something is missing and there is more you feel we need to include, then please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you, do come and visit us again soon and we hope to see you at one of our events.