Public rights of way- Know your rights!
Posted on 11 February 2019

Most land owners will have public rights of way (footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic) crossing their land and it is important to have an understanding of your rights and how to protect yourself from the consequences of the public deviating from designated routes.

If it can be proved that a non-designated route has been used for 20 years plus without restriction, an application can be made to register a public right of way. The government has recently announced a cut-off date of 1st January 2026 to record historic rights which has led to a surge of applications to record these rights before the deadline.

There is little you can do to protect yourself from historic rights being registered, but it is possible to protect yourself under S 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 from new rights being registered on your property through a statutory declaration. This involves an application form, which incorporates a map, statement and declaration, and a fee to the appropriate local authority.

Putting up signs making it clear that the land is private property will also help to protect your interests particularly where it is suspected that the public are deviating from the defined route.

If you would like assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our experienced agents who can also assist with the extinguishment or diversion of existing footpaths.

Back to Top