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Public rights of way

There are approximately 750 kilometres of public rights of way managed by the Council. The network provides links between the countryside and towns and villages and enables the public to explore the local countryside and heritage.

What is a Public Right of Way?

A public right of way is a route registered on the Definitive Map under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. There are routes in towns, villages and the countryside, though footpaths are not to be confused with highway footways e.g. pavements on the side of the road.

Public Rights of Way are public footpaths, bridleways and byways. The council endeavours to ensure that public rights of way are signposted off roads and way marked along the paths. 

There are also permissive paths within the borough where the landowner including the Council has given permission and provision for the public to walk across their land. These paths are not recorded on the definitive map.

What are the council's responsibilities?

The Council works to maintain the public rights of way network with maintenance partnerships with parish and town councils. To maintain the public rights of way network we undertake the following task:

  • signposts where paths leave a metalled road
  • waymark routes where unclear
  • maintain surface for walkers and horses (where appropriate)
  • cutting and clearing vegetation
  • install and maintain bridges
  • undertake drainage works

Landowners or occupiers are responsible for controlling vegetation to ensure that the route is always open for use by the public. Landowners also have a duty to maintain stiles and gates on footpaths and bridleways in a good order.

Guidance note for users of public right of way during or following inclement weather

The public rights of way network is made up of footpaths, bridleways and byways, the surfaces of which vary according to the class of use.  For example the surface of a footpath should be suitable for the exercise of the public right of way on foot.  Some routes will have a natural surface; the condition of which will vary depending on location, weather conditions and seasons. The same will apply to semi-urban routes that may have a tarmac or stone surface.

It is the responsibility of each user of a public right of way to take the necessary precautions before proceeding. Therefore, the user should assess the general state of the route, take appropriate care and be prepared to take an alternative if necessary. Additionally, the user should wear suitable clothing and footwear depending on the weather conditions- waterproofs, wellingtons and /or  extra warm clothes carried maybe appropriate.   

The user should take special care during or following a period of inclement weather e.g. unusually high levels of rainfall where certain surfaces will become boggy, slippery and / or waterlogged depending on the type of terrain.

Definitive Map Modification Orders

Under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, a Modification Order may be applied for by any person wishing to claim a new public right of way, re-classify or delete an existing one.  View the online register of Definitive Map Modification Order Applications.

`Out & About 2` Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP)

‘Out & About Two’ has been drawn up in accordance with the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and takes account of guidance published by the Welsh Government.

The Rights of Way Improvement Plan is a 10-year strategic document that sets out how the Council intends to work with others to help manage and improve the rights of way network to make it more useful for the public.

Out & About Two: The Rights of Way Improvement Plan for Rhondda Cynon Taf 2019 – 2029

Report a problem

Report an issue with a Public Right of Way using our online form
Public Rights of Way

Unit 7c Hepworth Business Park

Coed Cae Lane


CF72 9DX

Tel: 01443 425 001