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What are Public Rights of Way?

A ‘Public Right of Way’ is a right for the public to pass over land that belongs to someone else.  They can be categorised as either:

  • Footpaths, which can be used for walking, running, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs   
  • Bridleways, which can be used for walking, horse riding, bicycles, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs   
  • Restricted byways, which can be used for any transport without a motor and mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs   
  • Byways open to all traffic, which are for any kind of transport, including cars (but they’re mainly used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders).   

Your rights on a Public Right of Way

Your legal right is to “pass and repass along the way”. You may stop to rest or admire the view, or to consume refreshments, providing you stay on the path and do not cause an obstruction. You can take a pram, or pushchair, but there is no guarantee that the surface of the path will be suitable for this use. You can take a dog with you, so long as it is under close control, but there is no requirement for stiles to be suitable for use by dogs.  You can find a more thorough explanation of your rights on the Ramblers Association website

If you encounter any problems whilst using a public right of way you can report it to us by sending an email to rightsofway@rutland.gov.uk Please remember to behave responsibly when you’re in the countryside and always follow the Countryside Code.

Our responsibilities

We have a duty to keep a record of public rights of way, known as the Definitive Map and Statement, and maintain them so that they are safe and convenient for you to use. For a comprehensive list of our responsibilities please refer to the guidance provided by central government.

Landowners responsibilities

The owners and occupiers of land crossed by public rights of way have to ensure that paths are visible and mustn’t obstruct or endanger users.  If you would like a more detailed explanation of landowners responsibilities please refer to the Guidance provided by Central Government.

Where to walk and ride

We’ve produced a series of leaflets describing routes ranging from health walks of just over a mile to long distance walks of more than 50 miles, and everything in between, so there’s something to suit walkers of all abilities.  The leaflets can be viewed on or downloaded from the Discover Rutland website

If you would prefer to plan your own walk or ride you could use an Ordnance Survey map or the ‘Definitive Map’, which is the legal record of all public rights of way in Rutland, is available for public inspection in the council offices at Catmose.  We also provide an Online Map of Public Rights of Way for personal use.

We are currently updating our online mapping system, we apologise for any inconvenience this causes. We hope to have it done as quickly as possible.

This is not the legal record of public rights of way and shouldn’t be used for legal purposes.The data provided has been digitised from 1:10,000 Definitive Maps.  Using the data, for mapping, or in a GIS, at scales other than 1:10,000 may result in unpredictable results. You must not sub-licence, lend, transfer or otherwise dispose of the data or modify, alter, de-compile, reverse engineer, or disassemble the data.  The data is given without obligation or warranty and the accuracy cannot be guaranteed.  Rutland County Council accepts no liability of any kind whatsoever for any error or omission in the data.

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