Problems on public paths

We’re committed to removing barriers to help everyone get out walking. Learn how to deal with any problems you encounter on your walk.

Advice relevant to England and Wales only. Find information about access rights in Scotland

That feeling of walking freely is like nothing else. But sometimes there will be issues along the way and we’re here to help solve them.

With our guidance on dealing with problems on public paths you’ll gain the confidence you need to feel safe and get the most out of your walks.  

A closed gate with a waymarker on it, among green foliage

Dealing with problems on public paths

The Ramblers guide to reporting problems on public rights of way in England and Wales. Who is responsible, how to contact them and what to expect.

A man walking along a canal towpath

Problems on paths with no public right of way

Not all paths are public rights of way. Here’s our guidance on what to do if there’s a problem on a path and it isn’t a public right of way.

A signpost, directing Glyndwr's Way in two directions

Signposts and waymarks on public rights of way

What are the rules around signposts and waymarks on footpaths, bridleways and byways? And do you know who to contact if a sign is missing?

A wide path running through trees

Disabled access on public rights of way

Stiles, heavy gates and steps are common barriers to people with limited mobility. We think much more can be done to open up the countryside for everyone.

Three horses walking along a hill top

Rules around keeping animals in fields with paths

When walking, you may encounter animals in a field that you consider to be dangerous. Read our summary of the rules to see if you should take action.

A group of people walking a wide dirt path between planted crops

Ploughing and planting on public rights of way

Farmers have a right to use their land to produce crops but this must be balanced with the public’s right to use and enjoy public rights of way.

The summit of a big hill with some walkers a long way in the distance


If you walk on private land without permission to do so you may be trespassing. Read our guide to yours and the landowner’s rights.

A wildflower meadow with a church in the distance

Get off my land

Our advice on what landowners can and can’t ask of you, plus what to do if you have a problem with a landowner.

walkers on path near buildings

Planning applications and rights of way

The Ramblers play an important part in planning applications for developments that affect public rights of way.

empty path by lake

Closures and diversions on the rights of way network

How local authorities are able to permanently or temporarily change the public rights of way network.

blocked path barbed wire

Getting obstructions removed from paths

If you have repeatedly reported a problem to the local authority and no action has been taken you can use the law to force the council into action

sign in field reading private no public right of way

Rights of Way in England and Wales

We're fighting to maintain and expand public rights of way in England and Wales

Path problems water uneven ground

Resolving problems with path surfaces

 If you have repeatedly reported a problem to the local authority and no action has been taken you can use the law to force the council into action 


Claiming unrecorded public rights of way

Unrecorded paths are vulnerable to development and unresolved problems. It is important they are claimed and get the protection they are entitled to.

A waymark showing public footpath ahead with rolling hills in the background.

7 actions you can take to resolve issues on public rights of way

How to act if the council is not responding to your report of an issue.