Rights of Way

A very short guide to Public Rights of Way….

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A Public Right of Way (PROW) is a Highway that can be used at all times by all members of the public and is literally a right to use a fixed route where there is no implication of public ownership of the land it crosses.

The main difference between PROWs and Highways (or roads) lies in the type of traffic entitled to use them – be that just pedestrians, horse riders, cyclist or all of these. These differing types of PROW can be identified from the different coloured way markers used to define them on the ground.


Public footpaths may be used by members of the public on foot only (including wheelchair users and people with pushchairs although the terrain may not always be conducive to this).


Public bridleways may be used by horse riders and cyclists as well as those permitted to use public footpaths.


Restricted byways may be used by horse drawn vehicles as well as those permitted to use public bridleways.


Byways open to all traffic may be used by mechanically propelled vehicles (cars and motorbikes) in addition to those permitted to use restricted byways.


There are other types of access to land which are sometimes confused with Public Rights of Way. Although a path may be clear on the ground it does not mean that it is a Public Right of Way with all of the legal rights and protection that would otherwise be implied. Some routes may be permitted by a landowner via appropriate signs and this type of access may be legally withdrawn or restricted at any time.


Other routes, such as access to the rear of a line of houses, may be used by numerous people through a formal private right of access; however there is no legal right for the general public to use it. Open Access (“Right to Roam”) is not a general right over all land but is restricted to those areas identified by special shading on Ordnance Survey Maps and specific signs on the ground.


For more details about your rights of access in the countryside or if you have queries about a specific route you can contact your local authority’s PROW section or Local Access Forum.


Doncaster Public Rights of Way


01302 735047.

Doncaster Council. Civic Office. Waterdale. Doncaster. DN1 3BU


North Lincolnshire Public Rights of Way


01724 297000.

North Lincolnshire Council. Civic Centre. Ashby Road. Scunthorpe. DN16 1AB




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