Birmingham City Council

Rights Of Way in Birmingham

Highways maintains records relating to highway status, including public rights of way.

Public Rights of Way - Local Access Forum

What is a public right of way?

A public right of way is a right by which any member of the public may travel across land. There are several kinds of 'way' over which the public have a right to pass and they are collectively known as highways. The nature of the right depends on the nature of the highway.

Footpath - right of way on foot only

Bridleway - right of way on foot, horseback and on pedal cycle

Byway open to all traffic (BOAT) - right of way on foot, horseback, pedal cycle and wheeled vehicles of all kinds including horse drawn vehicles. (These are generally used by the public for walking and riding)

Public rights of way form an important recreational resource for members of the public but also provide a means of access to local facilities such as shops and bus stops.

How can I find out where public rights of way exist?

Highways keeps a record of public rights of way known to exist within its area and is also responsible for preparing the definitive map and statement. If you have any queries relating to their location contact

Highways information
Tel: 0121 464 6846

What if there is a way that I think is public not shown on the records?

If you believe a public right of way exists but records held by us do not show this; you can apply to the us for an order to be made to register it. This is controlled by statutory procedures and will require you to provide the evidence, which you consider, creates a way as a public right of way.

For further information contact
Highways information
Tel: 0121 464 6846

Alternatively you may wish to seek advice from The Ramblers Association or The Countryside Agency

How can I get a public right of way closed or diverted?

This is a commonly asked question. Public rights of way particularly in urban areas can create problems for local residents such as social nuisance or crime. Public rights of way as highways are protected by law and can only be closed in limited circumstances. Current legislation only permits closure where it can be shown that the path is no longer needed for public use. This can be difficult to prove if it is well used by members of the public.

A new Act, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, has now made provision for the extinguishment or diversion of footpaths where it can be demonstrated that it is necessary to do so in the interests of public safety. This section of the Act is not yet in force and is limited to areas designated by The Secretary of State. No areas in Birmingham have been designated and Birmingham City Council is required to consult with the police to obtain information as to the crime reported as a direct result of the existence of the path. We will try to keep you up to date on this particular issue.

Maintenance of public footpaths

The majority of footpaths are highway maintainable at the public expense although some are maintained by private individuals, such as those which go across farmers fields. The maintenance responsibility of public rights of way can be checked by using the "Contact Us" button, above, calling 0121 464 6846 or e-mailing

Fences or hedges adjacent to public rights of way do not form part of the highway and are usually there to prevent entry onto private land. If a fence has fallen down or a hedge is overhanging a public right of way causing and obstruction, you should report this to Highways (Tel: 0121 303 6644) who will arrange for appropriate action to be taken.

If the surface of the footpath is causing you concern, then you should report this to Highways on 0121 303 6644

Register of applications

Section 53B of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 ("WCA 1981") requires us to produce a register of applications for definitive map modification orders made under section 53(5) of the act. The act requires the register to be available at the principle office of the authority, as well as on the website. Printed copies can be inspected at 1 Lancaster Circus during office hours by calling 0121 464 6846 or 0121 464 6846; electronic copies of the applications can also be viewed online.

Further information

Further information can be obtanied from the Countryside Agency or The Ramblers Association

If you have any other queries you can use the "Contact Us" button, above, or email them to

Related Links

Register of Applications in Birmingham
Countryside Agencies Website
The Ramblers Association