Public Footpaths

Driving around here you will see little green signs reading ‘Public Footpath’ and pointing in a direction. This is often confusing for Americans as we cannot wrap our head around the idea of walking across someone’s property.

Many of these footpaths are because they have been in use for 20 years so they have to be maintained as public footpaths.

Here is some guidance for using these:
  • Public footpaths are open only to walkers (including strollers and wheelchairs but it is not guaranteed that the footpath will be suitable for them).
  • Public bridleways are open to walkers, horse-riders and pedal cyclists. Although some are not suitable for pedestrians and can have have ford (river that runs through the path) that is not a problem for a horse to cross but a water will.
  • Restricted byways are open to walkers, horse-riders, and drivers/riders of non-mechanically propelled vehicles (such as horse-drawn carriages and pedal cycles).
  • Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) are open to all classes of traffic including motor vehicles, though they may not be maintained to the same standard as ordinary roads.

You are allowed to stop to rest, admire the views, consume refreshments as long as you stay on the path and do not block anyone else from using these.

You are allowed to walk your dog as long as it is under your close control and if it messes on the path, you must pick up after it. You must ensure that the dog does not go off the path and trespass onto other properties.

Sometimes footpaths will go directly across a field so don’t feel uncomfortable walking across this if you can see the path.

For more information, please see the Rambles website.

All the Best!

American to Britain