Information for landowners
We are obligated to "assert and protect" the public rights of way network. Landowners have a responsibility to ensure that routes do not become obstructed or inaccessible as a result of their actions.
The principal responsibilities of landowners are to:
- Maintain stiles and gates in good order. We often assist here by carrying out works on the landowner's behalf, however landowners should remain aware of their responsibilities.
- Cut back encroaching/overhanging vegetation.
- Avoid obstructing paths
- Reinstate paths that run across fields within two weeks of ploughing and ensure paths are then kept clear of crops.
- Refrain from keeping a dairy bull over 10 months old in any field crossed by a public right of way.
- Refrain from keeping a beef bull over 10 months old unless accompanied by cows or heifers in any field crossed by a public right of way.
- Refrain from any actions which may deter members of the public from using a public right of way.
Protecting Your Land
Regular use by the public of an informal/unregistered path may result in it being recognised as an official public right of way. To prevent this, you need to show that, at the relevant time, you did not intend that the path should become a public right of way.
The erection and locking of gates, display of notices, or regular closing of the path can be used to show a 'lack of intent to dedicate'. So too, can the deposit of a statement and plan with the County Council. One plan and statement can cover all of your land. You can find out more about how to make deposit under s.31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 by contacting the Public Rights of Way office.
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