Menu

The Definitive Map for recording public rights of way

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act was passed in November 2000. This covers many matters, including providing for a cut-off date (1 January 2026) for the recording on definitive maps of footpaths and bridleways created before 1949: any unrecorded footpaths or bridleways will otherwise be extinguished.

This will extinguish all public footpaths and public bridleways that have been in existence since before 1949 unless they are recorded on the local authority’s Definitive Map and Statement (DMS). There have been indications that the government will introduce regulations to exempt certain unrecorded routes from extinguishment in 2026 (for example if an application has been submitted to the local authority requesting that the route be added to the DMS) but this is yet to happen.

Amending the DMS requires a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO), which anyone can apply for under Schedule 14 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

In order to see what footpaths, byways and bridleways are marked on the DMS, click on this link. Then click on Layers (the icon that looks like three sheets of paper, top right); then on Countryside; and then on Public Rights of Way. You can drag the map and use the + and – buttons (top left) to get the appropriate coverage.

If a right of way is not marked on the DMS and you have reason to believe that it should be, you’re advised in the first instance to contact Stuart Higgins, West Berkshire Council’s Definitive Map Officer, on stuart.higgins@westberks.gov.uk, providing details of the location of the path and any evidence you have to support the claim. He will be able to carry out some initial research of evidence and circumstances to check if there any overriding reason why an application might fail. He can then informally advise the would-be applicant of whether he thinks it is worth proceeding. The applicant does not have to heed his comments and is free to submit an application regardless.

If a DMMO application is submitted, it is up to the local authority to decide if an order should be made. Any formal application requires investigation and a weighing of evidence against legislation and case law so that a formal decision report can be made for West Berkshire Council to consider. The majority of applications which have been made in West Berkshire since 2006 have, for one reason or another, failed this test. If refused, the applicant has the right of appeal to HM Planning Inspectorate (HMPI).

If the local authority agrees that an order should be made it is opened to public objection. Opposed orders go to the Planning Inspectorate for determination. Only when all these stages have been passed can the right of way be added to the DMS.

User groups sometimes publish guidance on the 2026 cut-off date extinguishments. Here is an example (from the Open Spaces Society).

Parish and town councils are obviously well-placed to be able to judge whether or the DMS in their parish is correct but they have no statutory duty to check this and nor are they obliged to make an application if requested to do so by a parishioner. Applications can me made by a parish or town council or by individuals.

For rights of way that came into existence post-1949 and which are not recorded on the DMS, the process is the same as described above. The only difference is that there is no proposed legislation to extinguish in 2026 such public footpaths and bridleways that are then still unrecorded.

People can approach the appropriate parish council or West Berkshire Council if they are interested in new public rights of way being dedicated.

Much of the specific information here is relevant only to West Berkshire: however, the general points will apply for every local authority.

The image at he top of this post is taken from West Berkshire Council’s Definitive Map which uses base mapping supplied by Ordnance Survey.

 

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coverage Area

What's On

Aug
20
Tue
2019
9:00 am Summer Holiday Course: Revolting... @ The Watermill
Summer Holiday Course: Revolting... @ The Watermill
Aug 20 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Summer Holiday Course: Revolting Rhymes @ The Watermill | Bagnor | England | United Kingdom
Create, rehearse and perform a site-specific play,
9:30 am Brick City Exhibition & Brick De... @ The Base
Brick City Exhibition & Brick De... @ The Base
Aug 20 @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Brick City Exhibition & Brick Den Workshops @ The Base | Greenham | England | United Kingdom
Make your summer brick-tastic with a visit
9:30 am Wantage LEGO Expo 2019 @ Vale and Downland Museum
Wantage LEGO Expo 2019 @ Vale and Downland Museum
Aug 20 @ 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Wantage LEGO Expo 2019 @ Vale and Downland Museum | England | United Kingdom
The Wantage LEGO® Expo returns for the
10:00 am The Living Rainforest: Summer Fe... @ The Living Rainforest
The Living Rainforest: Summer Fe... @ The Living Rainforest
Aug 20 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Living Rainforest: Summer Festival of Conservation & Sustainable Living @ The Living Rainforest | Hampstead Norreys | England | United Kingdom
Join us this August as we celebrate
10:30 am Family History Sessions @ Pangbourne Library
Family History Sessions @ Pangbourne Library
Aug 20 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Family History Sessions @ Pangbourne Library | Pangbourne | England | United Kingdom
Research your Family History Third Tuesday of
10:30 am Hungerford Carers Support Group @ Hungerford Fire Station
Hungerford Carers Support Group @ Hungerford Fire Station
Aug 20 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Hungerford Carers Support Group @ Hungerford Fire Station
Hosted by Reading and West Berkshire Carers
11:00 am Rhymetime @ Newbury Library @ Newbury Library
Rhymetime @ Newbury Library @ Newbury Library
Aug 20 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Rhymetime @ Newbury Library @ Newbury Library | England | United Kingdom
Rhymetime for under 3 years Every Tuesday
2:00 pm Art Group @ Hungerford Library @ Hungerford Library
Art Group @ Hungerford Library @ Hungerford Library
Aug 20 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Art Group @ Hungerford Library @ Hungerford Library | England | United Kingdom
Art Group Every Tuesday, 2.00-4.00pm at Hungerford
2:00 pm Craft Fun @ Mortimer Library
Craft Fun @ Mortimer Library
Aug 20 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Craft Fun @ Mortimer Library | Mortimer Common | England | United Kingdom
Craft Fun for children Tuesday 13th and
2:00 pm Knit and Natter @ Lambourn Library
Knit and Natter @ Lambourn Library
Aug 20 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Knit and Natter @ Lambourn Library | Lambourn | England | United Kingdom
Knit and Natter Every Tuesday, 2.00-4.00pm at

Sign up to the free weekly

Penny Post

e-newsletter 

for local, positive news, events, jobs, recipes, recommendations & more.

Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale