Public Rights of Way FAQ
We list answers to some of the most common questions on public rights of way
What is the difference between a footpath, a footway, a bridleway and a byway?
Footpaths and footways are both for use by pedestrians only. The only difference is location - a footpath is a path that is not beside a road and a footway is a pavement that is next to a road. Footpaths and footways may be used for walking only and cyclists are not advised to use either unless signs say otherwise. Unlike footpaths, anyone over the age of 16 riding a cycle on a footway can be given a £20 fixed penalty fine. Cyclists can use routes marked as byways or bridleways. A bridleway can only be used by walkers, horse riders or pedal cyclists. A byway is a highway mainly used for walking, cycling or horse riding but over which there is a right to use any type of wheeled vehicle, whether horse drawn or motorised.
Who is responsible for footpaths?
The recording of footpaths and other Public Rights of Way and their maintenance is the responsibility of the Isle of Anglesey County Council’s Public Rights of Way team. They also deal with creations, diversions and closures. The team also deals with enforcement issues such as removal of obstructions across a Public Right of Way.
Can I ride my horse on the highway verge?
Under common law, pedestrians, horse riders and carriage drivers have public user rights over the whole width of land designated a highway. Usually this is between the hedges and fences on either side of the carriageway and this area may include verges. These rights may, however, be restricted where limitations are imposed such as the provision of a footway, along which only pedestrians have user rights. This and other legal requirements effectively limit the width for vehicular users to the made-up carriageway, what we call the road. Horse riders can lawfully cross a footway, say at a road junction or verge-crossing, and ride along the verge at the back of a footway if it exists. There are exceptions to this, however; for example, if a Traffic Regulation Order or local bylaw exists specifically forbidding horse riders the use of the verge. You would know of such an Order by the display of signs indicating the ban.