Footpath surveys are an important strategy for protecting PROWs and enabling walkers to enjoy the countryside. Surveys alert responsible authorities to path conditions and problems, instigating implementation of appropriate remedial action. There is also a relevance to the 2026 cut off point for claimed public routes to be included on definitive maps.
To create a programme of footpath surveys using volunteer members.
Develop a rolling programme whereby every PROW is surveyed at 18 month intervals but flexible enough to adjust frequency according to path condition
Maintain a productive working relationship with ERYC and NYCC Rights of Way Management Officers
Volunteers to agree Parishes for survey and a time frame
Survey forms will be prepared for each PROW to assist surveyors [explanatory notes overleaf].
Forms to be returned [if possible] on completion of all walks in a Parish.
If a path is without problems the date of survey will suffice.
Important problems or issues should be promptly reported directly to the relevant Countryside Manager, followed up with the survey report.
Group Footpaths Officer will prepare survey forms, compile results, submit returns, report to Group/Area committee and liaise with ERYC/NYCC Rights of Way Officers.
Ramblers volunteers to liaise with Rights of Way Management Officer responsible for their Parishes, when necessary
E – mail correspondence if possible
Ramblers' surveyors meeting for sharing of information or findings.
WIDTHS: - Minimum widths of PROWs are –
As designated in the Definitive Statement or Statutory Instrument. Otherwise the following apply
Across a field = 1 metre
Along a field edge = 1.5 metres
Across a field = 2 metres
Along a field edge or any carriageway = 3 metres
The survey form shows LINKS – they may assist in walking a route and identify points along the route that connect with: -
- The end of the path
- A Parish boundary
- A junction with another numbered path or road, on either side of which the path has the same number.
Grid Point Conversion - Click Grid Conversion to see how to convert OS grid points
To enable annual analysis of PROW's condition, a numerical value should be given to problems within a link. As a guide the below may be helpful.
1 No problems
2 Passable/Minor problems: maintenance required e.g. -
- missing fingerpost
- waymarking required
- faded sign
- clearing path is necessary.
3 Difficult/More serious problems: path difficult to use e.g. –
- illegal/misleading notice
- surface destroyed
- temporary obstruction
- dangerous stile
- a gate, stile or gap having barbed wire on/immediately next to hand rail etc.
4 Impassable/Path unusable on Definitive line e.g. –
- permanent obstruction – e.g. a building, wall
- other physical obstruction or impairment - an excavation; locked gates
- Illegal diversion
A free synopsis of BS5709:2006 "Understanding the British Standard for Gaps, gates and Stiles" ihas been published by The Pittecroft Trust. To read it click Gaps; Gates and Stiles