ARCHIVE: Entry Level Stewardship Handbook 2005 (PB10355)

5.3    Public rights of way

As a condition of joining the scheme, you must maintain existing rights of way and abide by the relevant legislation. This means that you must meet the following requirements.

5.3.1    Keeping rights of way clear of obstruction

Keep rights of way clear of any obstructions, such as padlocked gates, rubbish, barbed wire, slurry, manure, electric fences, hedgerows and chained or loose dogs. If necessary, cut back vegetation encroaching from the sides (but not the surface) and above, so that it does not inconvenience the public or prevent the right of way being apparent on the ground. Bridleways should have three metres (ten feet) of headroom to allow adequate access for riders.

5.3.2    Rights of way on cultivated land

Make sure that field-edge footpaths and bridleways and all byways are never cultivated. Keep cross-field paths clearly visible and clear of crops (other than hay or silage) and only plough or cultivate if unavoidable. If you do cultivate a cross-field path, the surface must be made good within 14 days of the first cultivation, or within 24 hours of subsequent cultivation, unless otherwise agreed with the highway authority.

5.3.3    Stiles, gates, bridges and signs

Make sure that stiles and gates on rights of way are maintained in good order.

Provide adequate bridges where, with the permission of the Highway Authority, new ditches are made or existing ones widened.

You may waymark public rights of way if you consider it necessary, and you must warn users of potential dangers (e.g. slurry lagoons, cliffs). Make sure that no misleading signs are placed near rights of way that might discourage access.

5.3.4    Dangerous animals

Bulls must not be kept in fields crossed by a path unless they are not of a recognised dairy breed and they are accompanied by cows or heifers, or they are younger than ten months. Any warning notices should only be displayed when a bull is present in a field.

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