Do you know where the public rights of way are on your farm?
Have they been registered with the local council?
Are the public using areas of your land that are not designated as a right of way?
These are all questions that every landowner should be asking themselves, so we asked Dan Bowden to answer some of these key questions.
Over the past 18-months, footpaths have been widely used due to the increased number of people staying at home and those have a ‘staycation’ within UK. Consequently, there have been an unfortunate number of recent reports in the farming press and on social media where public rights of way have not been used correctly. This is particularly the case on farms located near to villages or towns where public rights of way are experiencing higher footfall than normal.
In our experience, very few landowners have registered the public rights of way on their land. Many rely on Ordnance Survey maps or plans shown on the local authority website. Whilst most of these are correct, there may be other ‘perceived’ rights of way by ramblers who walk the land.
For a non-defined route to be designated as a public right of way, it needs to be used by the public for 20 years or more as a right and without interruption. A public right of way includes byways open to all traffic, restricted byways, public bridleways and/or public footpaths.
To crystallise the public rights of way over your farm, a carefully drafted statement together with a plan need to be submitted to the local council. This then needs to be followed up with a declaration within a defined timeframe. Throughout all correspondence with the council, the relevant legislative Acts need to be adhered to.
Barbers Rural are well placed to lead you through this process.
For more information contact Dan Bowden MRICS FAAV on 01630 692500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org