Once back in the UK, all the local paths will be annotated with information on when they can be used.
The resource for the information below is: Ordnance Survey.
The green dashed line (on OS Explorer maps) or pink dashed line (on OS Landranger maps) are footpaths with a public right of way. They are legally protected routes that the public may use by foot. Local authorities hold and maintain the definitive map of Rights of Way in their area and these are the legal documents for the status and alignment of rights of way. If an amendment is required, we rely on Local Authorities to pass this on to us so we can then revise our maps. Footpaths may cross private land, and in such cases the footpath must be kept to as the public only have the right to walk along the footpath. If a landowner wishes to divert a public right of way they must obtain a legal order from their local authority. Footpaths are usually signposted with yellow or green arrows.
As with footpaths, bridleways are legally protected routes that the public can use on foot or on horseback. While cyclists are to use bridleways, the Countryside Act 1968 states there is no obligation to facilitate cyclists on the routes and they must give way to other users. Bridleways are usually signposted with blue arrows.
Byway open to all traffic
On these routes there are restrictions on how you can travel the route. You are permitted to use the route on foot, horseback, bicycle or horse drawn carriage. You cannot use any motorised vehicles along this route.
Other routes with public access
These are accessible by the public and either join the above rights of way together or suggest how rights of way can be accessed from nearby roads. Their exact nature and accessibility may be unclear so, prior to using one of these routes, you may want to contact the local highway authority to see if they can advise you on any restrictions.
These are routes created by local authorities, Government agencies or volunteer organisations. They mainly follow existing rights of way and are signposted typically by whichever organisation created the route. If the route is also an existing right of way it will be maintained by a local authority. Any sections that are not part of existing rights of way may be maintained by the corresponding organisation. Local authorities give us permission to show these routes, but they may not actively promote the routes or give them priority over other rights of way.
This footpath takes you over private land and isn’t a right of way. The landowner has granted permission for the route to be used by the public, but they also have the right to withdraw that permission if they choose. The path will often be closed for one day a year to protect the landowner against any future claims of continuous public right of way. The date(s) the path is closed should be well signposted in the area.
A permissive path, permitted path, permitted bridleway or concessionary path is not a public right of way. It is a path clearly signed as a permissive that a landowner allows the public to use. This may be for walkers, riders, cyclists, or any combination. However there is no statutory right of access. Importantly, the landowner can impose conditions on use e.g. no dogs.
A white arrow, with or without additional identification is the recognised method adopted by statutory agencies for identifying such paths. However, land owner local agreements may simply have a printed notice e.g. yellow print on a blue back ground.
Some of the more firmly established permissive footpaths and bridleways are shown respectively as short/ long broken orange lines on 1:25,000 scale Ordnance Survey maps. However, many permissive paths are a result of local arrangements, for a set period only and do not appear on maps.
Many permissive paths are established as part of conservation projects by DEFRA [Natural England]. Details and maps of such projects are available at the website of DEFRA
A permissive path may be closed on a specified calendar day each year. These are precautions to prevent any possible future claim of continuous public access along the path which could result in it becoming designated as a statutory right of way.
As with the permissive footpath, a permissive bridleway takes you across private land where the landowner has granted permission for the public to use it. They also have the right to withdraw their permission and will likely close the bridleway for one day each year as above. Permissive footpaths and bridleways are only shown on 1:25000 Explorer mapping.