Public rights of way


As the highway authority for the Borough of Swindon, Swindon Borough Council is responsible for public rights of way.

The extensive network of paths run from the Thames Path National Trail at Lechlade to the Ridgeway National Trail on the Marlborough Downs.

A public right of way is a highway over which the public have a right of access along a linear route.

Types of way

The nature of the right determines the type of way, which can be either of the following:

  • Public Footpath - the right of way is on foot only, and waymarked with yellow arrows
  • Public Bridleway - the right of way is on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle; and waymarked with blue arrows
  • Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) - the right of way is for vehicles and all other kinds of user, and waymarked with red arrows
  • Restricted Byway - the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 will replace existing 'road used as public paths' (RUPPs) with restricted byways. The public will have a right of way on foot, on horseback, on a bicycle and be able to use a horsedrawn carriage

Your rights

On rights of way you can:

  • Take a pram, pushchair, wheelchair, but expect to encounter stiles on footpaths
  • Take a dog under close control but be aware that there may be no way for dogs at stiles
  • Take a short alternative route around an illegal obstruction
  • Move an illegal obstruction sufficiently to get past

Definitive map

Maps and statements are an important record of public rights of way. They provide conclusive evidence, at the relevant date of the map, of the existence and status of the public rights of way that are shown on them.

Many of the applications made to the highway authorities for definitive map modification orders, relate to claims based solely on use by the public without interruption for a period of 20 years or more.

Please note: The Definitive Rights of Way map is not yet available online, but may be viewed in person at Wat Tyler House. Please call the Rights of Way Mapping Officer on 01793 466017 to arrange an appointment to view.

Further information

For further information about Rights of Way responsibilities, please refer to the following document:

Was this information helpful?

Help us improve

Please don't include personal information such as your name and address.