Cross Compliance: Guide to Cross Compliance in England 2015 (GCCE 2015 v1)

GAEC 7b: Public Rights of Way

(Previously GAEC 8)

Public rights of way (public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic) must be kept open and accessible because they are important landscape features.

What you must do

You must:

  • not obstruct public rights of way
  • make good the surface of cross field footpaths and bridleways to not less than the minimum width within 14 days of the first disturbance if you are sowing a crop, or within 24 hours in all other circumstances. Minimum widths are 1 metre for footpaths and 2 metres for bridleways
  • maintain stiles, gates and similar structures in a condition that makes them safe and reasonably easy to use
  • indicate the route of a reinstated cross-field footpath or bridleway so that it’s visible on the ground and is at least the minimum width of the recorded route.

These rules apply to visible public rights of way only. This includes any rights of way which would be visible if it wasn’t for breaches of the rules.

More information

There is more information online about Public rights of way: landowner responsibilities.


You should contact your local authority.

Rural Payments Agency: 0345 603 7777

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