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Footpaths and Byways

You have a right to walk, ride, cycle or drive in public rights of way in the countryside. Public rights of way include footpaths, byways and bridleways.

You can walk on all public rights of way. Some public rights of way are also open to horse riders, cyclists or motorists.

You can use:

  • footpaths - for walking, running or mobility vehicles
  • bridleways - for walking, horse riding, cycling or mobility vehicles
  • restricted byways - for any transport without a motor and mobility vehicles
  • byways open to all traffic - for any kind of transport, including cars 

Driving on byways open to all traffic

When you drive a motorised vehicle in the countryside all the rules of the road apply such as road tax, insurance, MOT, driving licence, helmet and road signs.

You must always drive with due care and consideration without causing damage to the land or harming wildlife or livestock.

Public rights of way locations

If you are unsure whether you have right of way in a particular area, check with your local council.

Somerset County Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council

South Gloucestershire Council

Bristol City Council

Report it

If you believe a vehicle was using a right of way illegally, causing damage or putting wildlife at risk, or if you felt threatened or at risk by their behaviour, then please report it.

Fill in the General contact and enquiry form, call 101 or visit a police station.

When making a report, try to make a note of the following incident details:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Details of the suspected offence
  • Descriptions of those involved
  • Any registration numbers of any vehicles involved