Information and advice for farmers in relation to Public Rights of Way on their land.
Can I plough across a public right of way?
You may only disturb the surface of a cross field path if it is not reasonably convenient to avoid disturbing it so as to render it inconvenient. If this is the case, then you may plough a cross-field footpath or bridleway, but it must be re-instated within the statutory time limit of 14 days. Re-instatment means indicating it on the ground and making the surface reasonably convenient for public use, to not less than the statutory minimum width of 1 metre, whilst bridleways should be re-instated to a minimum width of 2 metres. It is an offence to plough out any field-edge public right of way. The minimum width for a field-edge footpath is 1.5 metres, whilst for a bridleway it is 3 metres.
Do I have to keep the public rights of way free from growing crops?
Where a crop other than grass has been planted or sown on land crossed by a public right of way, you have a duty to ensure that the line on the ground of the right of way is indicated to not less than the minimum width as set out above. Additionally, you have a duty to prevent the crop from encroaching within the width throughout the growing season. Failure to fulfil this duty is an offence.
Can I put a new gate across a public right of way?
If you wish to install additional gates on footpaths or bridleways, you must apply in writing to the Council for the authority to do so. Such structures can only be authorised when they are required for stock control.
It is the duty of the landowner to ensure that sites and gates are kept in a good state of repair. It is the Council's duty to ensure that the landowner complies with this obligation and to provide a grant of 25% towards repairing or replacing such a structure. The Council may provide gate kits as way of contribution.
Can I have additional signs erected to prevent people from straying from the legal line of the public right of way?
Good signing and way-marking help people find their way and also alleviates land managment problems. We will assist with signs and way-marking when requested.