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Public Rights of Way - Frequently Asked Questions

I have reported an issue, what happens next?

When reporting an issue via the online 'Report it' form or Customer Services directly, you will receive a unique 16 digit reference number.

Your issue will be allocated to an officer and be investigated within 15 working days. Once reported, if you want to provide us with further information or request an update, you can contact us via Customer Services quoting the unique reference number.

I have come across an obstruction on a Public Right of Way, what can I do?

Whether the obstruction is caused by vegetation or is man-made you can help by reporting it to us using our 'Report It' form.

If you come across an illegal obstruction, you may make a short deviation to bypass it or remove as much as is necessary to get past. However, in both instances, you should be careful not to cause damage and consider not continuing along the path, as you might be held liable for any damage caused.

What is the difference between a Public Right of Way (PRoW) and a private right of way?

A Public Right of Way gives users a right to pass and repass along a route, often over private land, and to deviate around any obstruction they may come across. The route may be used by the public on foot, on (or leading) a horse, on a pedal cycle or with a motor vehicle, depending on its status.

A private right of way is an access right given to an individual or a group of people to cross one property in order to reach another property. The Council does not hold a record of private access rights; you should seek your own legal advice to clarify if such rights exist.

Does a Public Right of Way cease to exist through lack of use?

No. Once a Public Right of Way comes into existence it will continue to exist indefinitely. A public right of way can only be permanently closed by a legal order. 

How do I report incidents of illegal use of footpaths and bridleways by off-road bikes and vehicles?

If you think a motorised vehicle is being used on a footpath or bridleway illegally or is a causing a nuisance, it is important that incidents are reported directly to South Wales Police (SWP), and to provide as much information as possible.

You can make a report to SWP using any of the following methods:

•             Call 101

•             Report online at using the ‘report’ button or via

•             Email

•             Private Message South Wales Police on Facebook

•             Private Message South Wales Police on Twitter @swpolice

The Council is working with SWP to tackle illegal off-road activity and incident data will help ensure future operations target hotspot areas within the County Borough.

How can I make a commercial search enquiry and how much will it cost?  

There is a professional fee in replying to a commercial search enquiry about a Public Right of Way. The charge is currently £33.87 (inc. VAT). Once payment is made a response is usually provided within 5 working days.

To make a search enquiry please contact us at for more information.