Almost all public rights of way (PROWs) cross private land. Responsibility for maintaining them is shared between the landowner and us.
- landowners are responsible for keeping their paths free from obstruction, and for keeping gates and stiles in good repair
- we are responsible for maintaining the surface and for signposting and waymarking them
If you think that a path is not properly maintained you should report the problem to the PROW team.
We are responsible for maintaining the surface of all public rights of way recorded on the Definitive Map.
We carry out periodic maintenance of surfaced paths.
Hedges and trees
We operate an annual cutting programme that ensures that the majority of paths are cleared of vegetation each year.
You can use our eForm to report overgrown vegetation on a public right of way, but landowners must maintain hedges and trees next to paths so that they do not obstruct the path in any way.
Landowners can refer to the trees and hedgerows section of this website to find out if permission is needed to fell a tree or remove a hedgerow.
Stiles and gates
Landowners must ensure that stiles and gates are in a state of good repair.
We can provide a grant of up to 25% of the cost of maintenance or replacement of the structure. We have discretionary powers to extend this grant and in normal circumstances we will carry out the works ourselves at no cost to the landowner.
If you want to install an additional stile or gate on a path you must first contact us to get authorisation. We can only authorise a new stile or gate if it helps control livestock.
Bridges and culverts
The provision and maintenance of bridges and culverts (structures that allow water to flow under paths) is shared between the landowner and us. Responsibility for maintenance may be different in each case.
In normal circumstances we repair and maintain bridges at no cost to the landowner.
Signposts and waymarkers
We put up and maintain signposts where paths leave a tarmacked road. The signpost will always show the status of the path and may also show if the path is part of a promoted walk.
We may also place waymarkers on a path to help you find your way. An agreed national colour scheme for signs on public rights of way uses yellow arrows for footpaths and blue arrows for bridleways.