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Problems on Public Rights of Way

Q: How can I report an issue on a right of way in South Gloucestershire? 

A: Please login or register an account if you do not already have one. After you have logged in please visit our interactive map page to submit your issue report. 

Q: What are my rights as a landowner / occupier? 

A: For more information in this area, please refer to our information for landowners pages. 

Q: Can a farmer keep a bull in a field through which a public right of way passes?

A: The only bull allowed in a field crossed by a public right of way is a bull under 10 months old or a beef bull accompanied by cows or heifers. Breeds of bull that must NOT be kept in fields with a path include Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry. Farmers are advised to ensure they comply with the HSE Agricultural Information Sheet No 17 on Cattle and Public Access.

Q: What should I do if I find an intimidating sign on a public right of way (e.g. Private, Keep Out, Beware of the Bull etc.)?

A: Misleading or intimidating signs on rights of way are unlawful. Please report any that you come across.

Q: What can I do if a public right of way is blocked?

A: You may remove a sufficient amount of an obstruction on a public right of way to get by otherwise you may take a short detour to get around it, but be careful not to trespass on another owner's land. Be aware however that if, for instance, you cut an illegal fence wire across a public right of way thereby allowing stock to escape onto a road you could be liable for damages. It is best to report the obstruction to Public Rights of Way for them to take action.

Q: What if someone tries to stop me using the right of way?

If you have a map with you check that you are on the correct route, avoid confrontation, take an alternative route if possible and report it to the Council as soon as you are able.

Q: I am concerned about anti-social behaviour on a path near my house. What can be done about it?

A: This is a matter for the Police, as the people are a problem rather than the path. Report it to the Anti Social Behaviour Team at the Council

Q: I cannot use a path because the field has been ploughed / cropped. What should I do?

A: Use the nearest alternative route. Report the location to Public Rights of Way.

Q: I have been using a path for years and it has recently been blocked off by a locked gate or a fence or building/there is a new private sign/someone has stopped me and told me not to use the path. What can I do about this?

A: Firstly, check whether it is a public right of way. You can see our online interactive map to check if it is present, but you will then need to check the Definitive Map to be sure. If it does not appear to be recorded as a public right of way see: How can I claim a public right of way that is not shown on the Definitive Map?

Q: What is the law on aggressive/intimidating livestock in a field through which a public right of way passes?

A: The keeper of any animal may be liable for the damage/injury caused by the animal. Please report the matter to public rights of way.

Q: What should I do if a public right of way is overgrown with vegetation?

A: The landowner is responsible for keeping hedges from obstructing public rights of way. The Rights of Way Team is responsible for clearing vegetation growing from the surface of the path. Report this issue to the public rights of way.

Q: Who is responsible for removing litter or fly-tipping from a public right of way?

A: The local council is responsible for clearing fly-tipping on a highway. Report this to South Gloucestershire Council

Q: Who should I contact if I find an abandoned car on a public right of way?

A: This is the local council's responsibility. Report this to the Council.

Q: Can an electric fence be erected across a path? What about barbed wire?

A: Electric fences adjacent to public rights of way should be clearly labelled. Electric fences may be erected across a footpath (but not across a bridleway or byway) but they must be clearly labelled and insulated handles must be provided. It is an offence to place barbed wire across a public right of way. Barbed wire adjacent a path could be considered to be a 'public nuisance'. A walker or rider who is injured or damages their clothes on barbed wire when using the path could claim for damages against the landowner.