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Definitive map of public rights of way

Information on how rights of way are recorded, where to see a copy, diverting or permanently closing a right of way, creating a new route, is it up to date, what is not shown on the records, what to do if there wrong and preventing public access. 

How are public rights of way recorded?

The definitive map is the legal record of public rights of way as described in the accompanying statement.

There are four categories of public rights of way that are required to be shown:

  • Footpath
  • Bridleways
  • Restricted byway
  • Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT).

A public right of way shown on the definitive map is proof of the routes existence. However, if a route is not shown, it is not conclusive proof that this route does not exist. It is also possible that a route shown on the definitive map is wrongly recorded but the definitive map retains its definitive status until an order has been made and confirmed to correct the error. 

Where can I see a copy of the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way?

There are several sources, a copy of the definitive map incorporating legal changes can be viewed at:

Archives and Local Studies collection
Treasure House
Champney Road
Beverley
HU17 8HE

The Walking The Riding website has a digital representation of the map which should only be used for general guidance as it is not the legal record of public rights of way:

Walking The Riding (external East Riding website)

Alternatively, you can contact us online.

Can I divert or permanently close a public right of way on my land?

This may only be done by going through a legal process and making a Public Path Order (PPO). This type of order can divert, create or extinguish a public right of way, however there is no duty for us to make such an order and there is no guarantee that it will be successful.

A PPO may only be made and confirmed if it meets the legislative grounds. The process is open to public consultation so that everyone is given an opportunity to object that the grounds for the order are not met. When an order is made it is advertised in the press and a notice posted at the ends of the route affected by the order. We also make a copy of the order available at the nearest customer service centre to the affected route.

If you would like to apply for a Public Path Order, please contact us online.

Please note there are charges for this service which are detailed in the following document:

Public Path Orders - Scale of Charges (pdf 50kb opens in new window)

We prioritise applications made using the following guidelines -

Public Path Orders - Prioritisation Guidelines (pdf 45kb opens in new window)

If you would like more information on what is involved, Natural England produce an informative booklet that can be downloaded from their website:

Guide to definitive maps and changes to public rights of way (external website)

The following document will be of interest both to those who manage public access to the countryside as well as members of the public using this access:

Managing Public Access - a guide to land managers (pdf 611kb opens in new window)

How do I create a new route or public right of way?

You may only create a new public right of way by dedicating a route over land that you own by entering into a Dedication Agreement with us. Subsequent maintenance of the path is not necessarily the responsibility of the council.

Is the record of public rights of way (definitive map) up-to-date?

Since publication, numerous legal orders have been made to modify the definitive map. These reflect diversions, creations, closures and other legal changes that have been made to the public rights of way network since the map was published.

The Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) outlines how we aim to keep the map up to date and improve the network.

What is not shown on the records of public rights of way (definitive map)?

The following are not recorded on the definitive map:

  • Open access land
  • Common Land
  • Permissive routes
  • Pavements (footways) adjacent to vehicular highways
  • Unrecorded rights
  • Other routes with public access shown on OS Landranger and Explorer maps for which there is more information on their website.

Ordnance Survey (external website)

These maps are available from bookstores and camping equipment/outdoor equipment suppliers. 

What do I do if I think the records of public rights of way (definitive map) are wrong?

The definitive map is the legal record of those public rights of way shown on it and as described in the accompanying statement. It can only be corrected using a legal process known as a Definitive Map and Statement Modification Order (DMMO). Amendments to correct the map may include adding, deleting, upgrading or downgrading a route and amending the details of a route.

Before a DMMO is made, strong evidence is required to meet the legislative grounds. The key to a good application is the evidence. The process is open to public consultation so that everyone is given the opportunity to provide evidence for consideration before an order is confirmed.

If you would like to apply for a DMMO, you will need to complete a Schedule 14 application pack, which you can get by contacting us online.

More guidance on Schedule 14 applications is available online:

Application under Schedule 14 - Guidance (pdf 82kb opens in new window)


The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 requires the council to keep a register of all applications for DMMOs that must be made available to the public. The current register of Schedule 14 applications is available for inspection online.

Do landowners have any rights to prevent public access to their land?

If a route is shown on the Definitive Map and Statement you cannot prevent the public from using it, however, you have the right to request the public to leave your land where they have no right of access. You could also erect signs or lock gates to inform the public of your intention to prevent access.

The procedure for depositing statements and declarations under section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 and the registration of new town and village greens under the Commons Act 2006 has been amended by the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013.

Section 31(6) of the 1980 Act enables a landowner to deposit a highway statement accompanied by a map (of scale not less than 1:10,560) acknowledging any existing public rights of way across their land at the same time as declaring that they have no intention to dedicate any further routes to the public. This is then followed up by submitting a highway declaration within 20 years of submitting the highway statement.

This process has no effect on the existence of public rights of way already shown on the definitive map or otherwise shown to carry public rights, including by deemed dedication by virtue of 20 years use, before the highway statement and map was deposited. Please note that this process does not apply to cases where an application to record a public right of way is based on historical documentary evidence.

Until the 2013 Act it has not been possible to make declarations to assist in the protection of land from registration as a town or village green. However landowner statements were introduced on 1 October 2013 and allow landowners to prevent such registrations.

Section 15 of the 2013 Act inserts sections 15A and 15B into the Commons Act 2006. Section 15A allows a landowner to deposit a landowner statement accompanied by a map (of scale not less than 1:10,560) which brings to an end any period of recreational use of the land 'as of right' to which the statement and map relate, provided they have been deposited before there has been 20 years recreational use. The effect of this statement is to interrupt any such period of use of the land shown on the map and described in the statement.

Section 13 of the 2013 Act changed the process to allow you to make a single application to prevent your land being recorded both as highway on the definitive map and registered as a town or village green. There is now a prescribed form that can be used for either or both deposits.

The form of the application is prescribed in Schedule 1 to the 2013 regulations - the Commons (Registrations of Town or Village Greens) and Dedicated Highways (Landowner Statements and Declarations) (England) Regulations 2013. A copy of the regulations is available to view at:

UK legislation website (external website)

To retrieve the regulations search for '2013' in the year and '1774' in the number.

The application form (CA16) that allows for both highways statements and declarations, landowner statements and the guidance for the completion of form CA16 are available from:

Commons Act 2006 forms (external website)

The legislation states that the highway statement and declaration cannot be submitted at the same time. However a landowner statement can be submitted at the same time as a highway statement or declaration.

Fees

Every application must be accompanied by the correct fee.

There is a non-refundable administration fee of £400 for each application.

Please make cheques payable to East Riding of Yorkshire Council and send, complete with the application, to:

The Definitive Map Team
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
County Hall
Cross Street
Beverley
HU17 9BA

The fee covers checking the application is valid, acknowledgement of the application, preparation of notices and posting notices on site, publishing the notice of the application on our website, recording the application on the registers and serving notices where applicable.

To recover any additional costs incurred if there are extra travelling costs and officer time needed to erect a large number of notices or if the area consists of parcels of land over a wide area there will be an additional charge of £50 per hour.

Registers

The legislation requires that we maintain registers containing the details and copies of all maps and statements and declarations lodged with the authority.

The current registers of highways statements and declarations and landowner statements are available for inspection online.

Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2017