Guidance to path users and landowners on how to get the best balance so people can use public rights of way while also keeping everyone safe.

Public rights of way provide a great place to exercise and get to places, but some go very near to people's homes and to working farms and stables.

Please consider if you might choose routes away from residential properties and farm yards.

Advice for public rights of way users

When using public footpaths and bridleways, please:

  • leave gates as you find them - some landowners may tie gates open at this time to avoid the need for path users to touch the gate
  • consider using any alternative routes suggested that enable you to avoid going near houses and working farm or stable areas
  • hand wash or sanitise when you return home
  • stay on paths and keep dogs on a lead around livestock and away from other people or dogs
  • follow The Countryside Code .

If you encounter a problem when using the path network

Please report it to us:

We will try to respond to the more serious issues within our normal time scales, but this may not be possible as our staff may be needed to support vulnerable residents.

Advice for landowners

The council and DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) are aware of the concerns raised by landowners that the use of public rights of way that run through gardens, farmyards and schools is increasing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus to residents and farm workers.

The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low.

Closing public rights of way

What cannot legally be done, unless the government changes the law, is the closure of any part of the highway network. To do otherwise could be a criminal offence.

More information

Safer public places - managing public outdoor settings