Paths in England and Wales

Rights of way law

We answer frequently-asked questions about rights of way law in England and Wales, from who owns paths to what constitutes an obstruction.

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Types of paths in England and Wales

Find out what constitutes a right of way in England and Wales and the different types of paths that exist.

Definitive maps explained

How do you know if a path is a right of way? And how can you prove it when it is? Find out the part played by definitive maps.

Changes to the path network

The public rights of way network is constantly changing. Every year hundreds of paths are diverted or closed. Sometimes, more rarely, new paths are created. But it's important to note that changes can be brought about only as the result of a procedure in which a legal order to bring about the change is made.

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Enjoying the countryside

Introduction to public paths

Public rights of way – footpaths, bridleways, and byways – are all ‘highways’ in law. This means they get the same protection from the law as a road does.