Planning applications and rights of way

The Ramblers role in ensuring new developments do not adversely affect public rights of way

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

As guardians of the path network, the Ramblers takes an active role ensuring new developments do not adversely affect the national network of footpaths, bridleways and byways.  

 Our local volunteer footpath officers do wonderful work checking planning applications.  Using their local knowledge and following Ramblers policies they will comment or object where appropriate.  


Public rights of way and planning applications  

If a public path exists on land that is subject to a planning application it must be taken into account by the authorities when deciding whether to approve the application. The authority will consider the application against national and local plans and policies. 

However, the existence of the path will not automatically stop a development. Indeed many developments can be configured to work around the path or to integrate it into the development.  If you are concerned about a planning application,  

If an application is granted permission, some paths might need to be closed temporarily while the development goes ahead but will reopen in the same position as they were before. Others might need to be diverted or closed.  


Help with concerns about planning applications 

Get help from your local Ramblers Group 

If there is a planning application near you that you think will impact public rights of way, please contact your local Ramblers representative directly.  

You can find their contact details on our website  or via a search engine Our volunteers will advise if they are able to take on the case.  Due to the fact they are volunteering their time for free, they are not always able to take on every case. 


Get general advice from the Ramblers 

We can provide advice on Ramblers policy and matters of rights of way law.   Contact us by emailing  Do not use this email for local planning objections – these must be addressed to your local Ramblers group (see above).  


Get more general planning advice from the Countryside Charity, CPRE. 

For more general information and advice about planning applications the Countryside Charity, CPRE, has an excellent set of resources explaining the planning process and how to get involved.  



Useful Information

Green fields with green hills in the distance

Planning principles

The planning system helps shape and control developments which can affect the countryside and make our towns and cities greener and easier to walk in.

A wooded path

The planning system

The planning system is key to protecting paths and green spaces. We believe we must put people, climate and nature at the heart of town and country planning.

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.