Public Rights of Way
February 9, 2019
Wendron Parish Council has been asked by residents to seek a Definitive Map Modification Order over the track at the northern end of PROW 89. Although for some reason the final twenty metres or so of this track were omitted from the Definitive Map when it was compiled, it has been used as a footpath/bridleway for many years without problems. Only recently has the locked gate at the northern end imposed restrictions on its use.
If you have used this track over a period of years, no matter how infrequently, please would you complete the attached witness statement and sign the attached map and return them both certainly before June 1, 2019 either to one of the Councillors or to the
Clerk to Wendron Parish Council
St Keverne Road
Wendron Parish has over 110 km of Public Rights of Way (PRoWs), which includes footpaths, bridleways and byways. The Parish Council is committed to ensuring our footpaths remain open and usable and works with Cornwall Council to improve our paths for all users.
Click here for an interactive map of all the Public Rights of Way within the Parish of Wendron. (To find the path number, click on the path itself.)
What is a Public Right of Way?
Public Rights of Way are legally designated routes over which any member of the public has a right to pass. All PRoWs are defined on a map (the Definitive Map) held by Cornwall Council and each one is identified by a number (beginning with 232 in Wendron). Any route marked on the Definitive Map is a PRoW regardless of its level of usage or its state.
There are three types of PRoW:
Footpaths can be accessed only on foot. Pushchairs etc. are permitted.
Bridleways are open to horses and cyclists as well as pedestrians. Adjacent landowners may access their land with vehicles but should not damage the surface of the path
Byways are open to pedestrians, horse-riders, cyclists and vehicles.
Bicycles on Footpaths
Bicycles should not be taken on a footpath as, in law, a bicycle is not considered to be a ‘usual’ accompaniment on a footpath. To push (or carry) a bicycle is, therefore, to commit a trespass against the holder of the land over which the path runs without their prior consent.
Horses on Footpaths
Horses should not be ridden on a footpath without the prior consent of the landowner, otherwise you would be committing trespass against the landowner, or occupier concerned.
Vehicles on a Public Right of Way
You can only drive a vehicle on a public byway. A person who drives a mechanically propelled vehicle over any private land, including public footpaths or bridleways on that land, commits trespass against the holder of the land unless they have private vehicular rights to use the right of way (will usually be shown on the property deeds).
In addition it is a criminal offence under Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle without lawful authority over any footpath, bridleway or restricted byway.
Rights and responsibilities
There is a lot of confusion over the various rights and responsibilities associated with PRoWs and they are poorly understood. If you are in doubt about your own rights in relation to footpaths, you should contact Cornwall Council or an appropriate legal advisor.
Most PRoWs cross private land and it is usually the responsibility of the landowner or occupier to ensure that the path is safe and usable. As in other circumstances, landowners have a duty of care towards anyone accessing their land and must take reasonable steps to prevent injury. It is illegal to prevent the public accessing a PRoW or to give misleading information in order to deter them.
Cornwall Council is responsible for overseeing PRoWs throughout the county and protecting them from misuse.
The Parish Council has no duties to protect or improve footpaths, but working with Cornwall Council under the Local Maintenance Partnership agreement does help to look after them.
Walkers and horse-riders also have a big part to play in looking after our PRoWs. It is essential that all users of PRoWs are familiar with the Countryside Code and are respectful of other people’s property, which includes sticking to the path as shown on up-to-date OS maps. Any problems on PRoWs should be reported to Cornwall Council as soon as possible And if you regularly use PRoWs, why not take a pair of secateurs with you to snip back overgrowth around stiles and gates, or a plastic bag to collect litter?
The Right to Roam – Open Access Land
The Right to Roam created by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act gives pedestrians the right to walk freely on certain designated areas of land called Open Access Land, which usually includes areas of common land. Within the parish of Wendron there are a number of areas of open access land including Porkellis Moor and Calvadnack Hill. You can view a (small) map of Open Access Land by clicking here
What you can and can’t do on Open Access Land
You can use access land for walking, running, watching wildlife and climbing.
There are certain activities you can’t usually do on open access land, including:
taking animals other than dogs on to the land
driving a vehicle (except a mobility vehicle)
But you can use access land for horse-riding and cycling if:
the landowner allows it
public bridleways or byways cross the land – horse riders and cyclists can ride along these
there are local traditions, or rights, of access.
Report problems with open access land
You can report problems to your local access authority – contact them through your local council.
You can also contact the Open Access Contact Centre by e-mail or by telephoning 0300 060 2091 for information about open access land in England.
Information for Dog Users
The law does not specifically allow dogs on PRoWs though, if challenged, most authorities would count them as a “reasonable accompaniment”.
Dogs must be kept under close control at all times on PRoWs or on access land or common land. You must be confident in your dog’s obedience if you need to call it and you should not let it out of your sight. If you cannot call your dog to heel, don’t let it off the lead.
Your dog must be kept on a short lead between 1st March and 31st July on access land and at all times on other PRoWs when livestock are nearby. It is trespass to allow your dog to stray from the line of a footpath so don’t allow it to wander fields, even if they’re empty.
Be aware that livestock (especially with young) may chase your dog if it gets too near. If you are chased, let your dog go and protect yourself first. Don’t forget that farmers have a right to destroy any dog which is worrying their livestock.
Always pick up your dog litter and dispose of it properly, no matter where you are.