Coronavirus Outdoor Exercise - Rights of Way

During the lockdown, many more people from Chicheley and neighbouring villages are walking and cycling for exercise.

Please be aware of which routes can be used and the legal restrictions that apply.  The land around Chicheley is farmed and heavy machinery is in use.  Crops are sprayed with fertislier and pesticides.  Trees damaged by the storms earlier this year are being made safe or cut down.  For your own safety, and that of farm workers, please stay on public rights of way and do not walk across fields, through woods or on tracks that are not rights of way.  

A right of way is a path that anyone has the legal right to use on foot, and sometimes using other modes of transport.

  • Public footpaths are open only to walkers
  • Public bridleways are open to walkers, horse-riders and pedal cyclists
  • Restricted byways are open to walkers, horse-riders, and drivers/riders of non-motorised 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

Rights of way are marked clearly on Ordnance Survey maps.  Please be aware that sports tracker applications may show routes taken by others who have trespassed on private land or cycled illegally on footpaths. The OS Explorer 1:25000 scale is best for route planning.  Maps for the whole country can be accessed for a small annual fee from the Ordnance Survey website.  Paper maps cost around £8 each.  Map 207 covers Chicheley and is adequate for current restrictions.   Rights of way are shown on the map with the following symbols:

Map and Legend Courtesy of Ordnance Survey.

Your legal right is to “pass and repass along the way”. You may stop to rest or admire the view, or to consume refreshments, providing you stay on the path and do not cause an obstruction.  Please do not leave any litter.  You can take with you a “natural accompaniment” which includes a pram, or pushchair.

You can legally take a manual or powered wheelchair (mobility scooter) provided you follow the regulations for taking these vehicles on ordinary roads. However there is no guarantee or requirement that the surface of the path will be suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

You can take a dog with you, but you must ensure it is under close control. Note that there is no requirement for stiles to be suitable for use by dogs.

Pedal cyclists have a right to use bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic, but on bridleways they must give way to walkers and riders. Like horse riders, they have no right to use footpaths and if they do so they are committing a trespass against the owner of the land.  Please note that some popular hiking and cycling applications on smart ‘phones incorrectly create cycling routes on footpaths in the area around Chicheley.  If you use one of these apps please confirm the route is in fact a public right of way.

Enjoy your exercise, but please follow the regulations for everyone’s safety and convenience.