Rights of Way

Rights of Way Advice

Myddle, Broughton and Harmer Hill Parish Paths Partnership promotes the responible use of our rights away and works with local farmers, land owners and the general public to work towards this goal. Please read the following extract which identifies each groups resposibilities.

Please remember your right of way across farm land is only on the designated right of way. Please keep dogs under control.

Please report any problems you encounter to contact@myddle.net

Full Extract taken from the autumn 2015 edition of Shropshire Council's Outdoor Partnership newsletter Council and Landowner Responsibilities for Rights of Way

Shropshire has over 5,500km of Public Rights of Way (PROW) these are defined as routes over which the public have the right to pass and re-pass and they fall into four categories known as Footpaths, Bridleways, Restricted Byways and Byways Open to all Traffic (BOAT).  
All are protected by law under the provisions of the Highways Act 1980 (predominantly) and other relevant legislation.  Both landowners/occupiers of land crossed by PROWs and the Council have responsibilities to keep these routes open and accessible to the public but how exactly are these duties distributed? 

Landowners/Occupiers of land crossed by PROW are responsible for:
Unlawful Obstructions – These are anything which substantially prevent the public from any free access over the whole of the route and it is the responsibility of the landowner/occupier to avoid putting obstructions on or across the route.  Examples of obstructions are; permanent or temporary fences, walls, hedgerows, padlocked gates or barbed wire. This also includes vegetation which encroaches onto the route from the sides or above. Obstructing a PROW is a criminal offence.  The Council has a duty to ensure that routes are free of any obstruction.  If it is not removed the Council can remove the obstruction and recover the costs from the landowner.

Ploughing and Cropping – Landowners/ occupiers must ensure that field edge PROWs, Restricted Byways and BOATs are not ploughed.  Footpaths and bridleways which cross fields can, however, be ploughed but must be reinstated and clearly apparent on the ground with a surface which is reasonably convenient for public usage,  not obstructed by crops and has the minimum defined  width which applies to each different category of PROW or to the width within the Definitive Statement.

Structures for Access – Where there is furniture such as stiles and gates these must be maintained by the landowner/occupier so they are safe and easy to use.

The Council is responsible for:
The Definitive Map and Statement - This is the legal record of PROW in Shropshire and the Council has a duty to ensure the map is kept up to date and accurate.
Surface of a PROW – In the main the Council is responsible for ensuring that the surface of a PROW is in a suitable condition for the status of route.   It is an offence to interfere with the surface to the detriment of the user, authorisation from the Council is required by landowners/occupiers if any alteration to the surface is to be made..
Vegetation, which is not considered a crop, and grows from the surface of the PROW is also the responsibility of the Council and should be cleared if it is impeding the ease of use for the public.
Bridges - Footpaths or bridleways which pass over bridges are generally the responsibility of the Council to maintain, although there are some exceptions where bridges cross canals or railways or where they are privately maintained by reasons of tenure.

Fingerposting/signposting - Where a footpath, bridleway or byway leaves a metalled (tarmac) road the Council has a duty to erect and maintain signposts.

Enforcement - In order to ensure that the PROW network is open and available the Council has various powers of enforcement.  This is normally carried out after previous attempts to resolve matters through negotiation with the landowner have been unsuccessful.  The Council exercise these powers under the Highways Act 1980 or by prosecution in the Magistrates Court. The most common enforcement actions are to remove obstructions and to ensure routes are reinstated after being ploughed or cropped.

For more information on Rights of Way Law go to https://shropshire.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=00a0e03e79ee453ab6b787961ab192ec


Rights of Way and Responsibilities. 

  • What Landowners and Farmers should do and what walkers should do.

Countryside Access and Public Rights of Way 

  • Find out about public rights of way, what they are, who can use them and how they are identified on the ground.
  • The Shropshire Countryside Access Team have developed various guidance notes on aspects of the rights of way service which you may find helpful on the ground.

Public Rights of Way in Shropshire

  • A map showing the working copy of the definitive map for Shropshire is viewable on this website, follow the link below to the websites mapping system to see what rights of way are in your local area.
  • Rights of Way should be signposted at the roadside and may also be waymarked along the route as required.