North East Lincolnshire Council

Public rights of way policy and improvement plan

The laws in England and Wales provide you with the right to walk, ride, cycle and drive in public rights of way in the countryside. Public rights of way include footpaths, byways and bridleways. The public can use a public right of way to pass and repass, according to their status as either a Footpath, Bridleway or Byway:

  • Public Footpath, over which the right is on foot only;
  • Public Bridleway, over which the right of way is on foot, on horseback and on pedal cycle, possibly with an additional right to drive animals;
  • Byway Open to all Traffic, over which there are vehicular rights, but is generally used by walkers, horse riders and cyclists.

Public Rights of Way are continually being created through presumed dedication, or by agreement with the Highway Authority. On Public Rights of Way you can:

  • Take a pram, pushchair or wheelchair if practicable,
  • Take a dog (on a lead or under close control),
  • Take a short route around an illegal obstruction or remove it sufficiently to get past.

Public rights of way in North East Lincolnshire

North East Lincolnshire has approximately 200 kilometres of Public Rights of Way comprising 140 footpaths and 61 bridleways. There are currently no “Restricted Byways” or “Byways Open to all Traffic” recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement.

We are responsible for the Public Rights of Way in 22 Parishes, and within the urban areas of Grimsby and Cleethorpes. There is a sharp contrast between the character of paths in the urban, suburban and rural area within the boundaries of the authority. Several parishes are situated on the first inclines of the Lincolnshire Wolds chalk escarpment, and offer attractive networks of public footpaths with views, tranquillity and varied landscapes.

Public rights of way enforcement policy

The Regeneration Partnership as Highway Authority, has the duty to protect and assert the right of the public to use and enjoy the public rights of way network, and inevitably this includes appropriate enforcement action where necessary. The Enforcement of Public Rights of Way Policy (PDF), formally adopted on 18th February 2014, clearly reflects legislative requirements, and sets out the legal obligations for those owner/occupiers who have land crossed by a public right of way.

In addition, the Public Rights of Way Landowner Guide (PDF) linked to the Enforcement Policy provides supporting information for owner/occupiers in respect of paths that cross agricultural land, and sets out the Highway Authority’s stance in respect of a reinstatement issue.

Public rights of way improvement plan

The Rights of Way Improvement Plan (PDF) sets out a 10 year plan for the management and improvement of North East Lincolnshire’s local rights of way network to meet national and local objectives for better provision for walkers, cyclists, equestrians, including persons with limited mobility.