Ownership of Public Rights of Way
including path users and land managers
believe that public paths
and bridleways belong to the landholders whose land they pass
over; this is not the case.
|The surface of a highway, whether a public
right of way or a road, is owned by the Highway Authority
rather than the owner of the land over which it passes.
More information on Path
Ownership is available on the Open
Spaces Society site.
Highway Authority's own Public Rights of Way not the
landowner of the land over which the path passes.
So what do the Highway Authority's
have to do with these Public Rights of Way, and what can we the
public expect of the Highway Authority's ?
Highway Authorities have a statutory duty to:
|"assert and protect the rights of the
public to the use and enjoyment of any highway for which
they are the highway authority"
|"maintain the highway"
|What do they have to maintain?
|"prevent, as far as possible, the
stopping up or obstruction of any highway for which they
are not the highway authority"
of way from metalled highways and providing additional
signs and waymarks where these are necessary along any
ensuring that the
legal record of all rights of way, called the ‘definitive
map and statement’, is kept up to date
The Highways Act 1980
The Highways Act 1980 is not available from the HMSO
however the complete text of the Highways Act is available on the
Green Lane Association
web site; here are the relevant sections referred to above.
|Highways maintainable at public
|Duty to maintain highways maintainable
at public expense
|Protection of public rights
|Notices to enforce duty regarding public paths
|Penalty for damaging highways
|Power to remove obstructions from highways
|General power of improvement