Definitive map and statement
The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 placed a duty on every County Council in England and Wales to draw up and publish a Definitive Map and Statement for their area.
The Definitive Map records the position and status of Public Rights of Way while the Definitive Statement describes each Public Right of Way shown on the Definitive Map. Together they form a legal document and are maintained by the council. The Definitive Map and Statement are conclusive evidence for the Public Rights of Way it shows. However, there may be other paths with public rights that are not shown.
Public Rights of Way on the Definitive Map can be changed, deleted and added but the correct legal procedures must be followed. Other changes include
- recording paths on the map where it can be shown that the route has acquired public rights
- the dedication of new routes
- emergency path closures
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 allows anyone to apply to the council to make an order to change the Definitive Map and Statement if they believe the map is incorrect. These are called Definitive Map Modification Orders and can be made if evidence is found to show that:
- A route that should be shown isn’t.
- A route that is shown shouldn’t be on the Definitive Map.
- A route is shown as having the wrong status (e.g. shown as a footpath instead of bridleway).
- A route is shown on the wrong line.
- A route should be more precisely defined (e.g. have its width recorded).
This evidence may be historical (e.g. old maps, title plans, Enclosure Awards) and/or user evidence, where the public have been using the route uninterrupted for more than 20 years. The Register of Definitive Map Modification Orders provides information on these types of applications. If you would like to apply for a Definitive Map Modification Order, please contact the Public Rights of Way Mapping Officer.