The Public Rights of Way Definitive Map
The Definitive Map and Statement are the legal record of the public’s rights to use footpaths, bridleways and byways.
Public rights of way mapping based on the Definitive Map is available using the Online Mapping application.
A number of the most frequently asked questions are answered below:
What is ‘the Definitive Map’?
It is actually many separate maps that show the routes of the hundreds of individual public footpaths, bridleways, ‘restricted byways’ and ‘byways open to all traffic’ recorded throughout Anglesey. These maps, together with the Definitive Statements for each route, are the legal record of the public’s rights along them. Most of these maps are at a scale of 1:10,000 (i.e. about 6 inches to a mile)
What is ‘the Statement’?
The Definitive Statement for each right of way describes the route and any restrictions on its use. The Statements for most of Anglesey’s paths are very brief!Those for new paths are more informative.
Can I rely on Ordnance Survey maps to show rights of way accurately?
Definitive maps are, more often than not, printed at a scale of 1:10,000 so there is a slight reduction in the precision with which the exact line of a path can be shown when transferred to 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 mapping. Even so these maps are more than adequate for most purposes - navigation, study or planning your walk or ride. You should be aware that published OS mapping can never be completely up to date as change is ever present - as true for rights of way as it is for any other aspect of the landscape. However you can expect that much the greater part of the path network will be accurately shown on the latest maps available in the shops.
When was the Map published?
Preparation of the Map started in the early 1950’s, following the passing of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Initial surveys were carried out by town/parish councils and walking groups. A lengthy consultation process involving landowners and path users eventually led to the publication of the Definitive Map for Anglesey in 1958.
The Map and Statement was then subject to incremental reviews, the last of these being finalised in 1988. After the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 came into force the Definitive Map it is subject to a continuous review process.
How up-to-date is the Definitive Map then?
Since publication, various legal orders have been made to modify the Definitive Map. These reflect the numerous path diversions, creations, closures and other changes which have occurred since the map was prepared. The Council is working towards publishing a ‘consolidated Definitive Map’ for Anglesey which will incorporate all these changes. Meanwhile the Council keeps updated working copies of the Map available for public inspection together with the Online Mapping application.
Where can I see the Definitive Map?
The original Map(s) and the working copies are available for public inspection during normal office hours, at the Rights of Way Office. No prior appointment is necessary but you are advised to contact the Unit beforehand to ensure that an officer is on hand to assist with any queries you might have regarding the map. Those held at the council offices are available for inspection free of charge during normal office hours.
What does ‘Definitive’ mean?
The appearance of a path on the Definitive Map is conclusive proof of its existence in law. However the reverse is not true. The fact that a right of way is not recorded on the Map, along a particular route, is not evidence that there is no right of way along that route. Similarly, higher rights e.g. bridle rights, may exist along a route shown only as a public footpath.
What can I do if I think the Map is inaccurate or incomplete?
You can apply to the Council for the addition of a path to the Definitive Map (or a deletion), or for a change in the status of any route shown on it. However, since the map is deemed to be legally conclusive proof of the existence of the public rights shown on it, you will need to supply strong evidence to support your claim. Given sufficient evidence, the Council is obliged to make a Definitive Map Modification Order to effect the change.
To apply for a Definitive Map Modification Order Application, contact the Public Rights of Way Team.