Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Have you say on local rights of way

Work has started on an improvement plan for public rights of way across West Berkshire – and we want your views.

West Berkshire Council is responsible for around 740 miles of public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways. There are public rights of way across the whole of West Berkshire, in both urban and rural areas. These form an important network for enjoying and exploring the countryside and travelling to work or school, as well as supporting tourism and good health. They provide hundreds of miles of free routes on which people can walk, cycle, ride horses or use other means of travel.

The council’s rights of way improvement plan helps them to make sure the public rights of way network meets the needs of the public, now and in the future. The current Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) was adopted on May 27th 2010 and it now needs updating.

Speaking about the work Councillor Richard Somner, Executive Member for Transport and Countryside, said:

Many people have used public rights of way more during the pandemic, or have discovered them for the first time. Accessing the countryside and West Berkshire’s network of paths has been very important to people for their health and mental wellbeing. We want to better understand the value of the public rights of way network to those who currently use them as well as how we might other residents to discover and make use of them.

The rights of way service is also using the process of reviewing its ROWIP to understand the needs of residents of West Berkshire more fully. It will use the opportunity to make sure the ROWIP addresses the priorities of the area in terms of health and wellbeing, supporting people living with disabilities and mental health issues, regeneration, growth, transport, climate change, tourism and other priorities.

To make sure the new ROWIP reflects the needs of West Berkshire’s residents, the council would like to know about your experience of using public rights of way, and how important the network is to your health and wellbeing. They also want to know if you’ve encountered any problems using the PROW’s, and whether your concerns were addressed. 

An online survey has been set up to gather people’s views – please take part before May 30th 2021.

A public right of way is a path that anyone has the legal right to walk on. Some public rights of way can also be used by cyclists, horse riders or motorists. You can use:

  • Footpaths for walking, running, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs
  • Bridleways for walking, horse riding, bicycles, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs
  • Restricted byways for any transport without a motor, except mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs
  • Byways open to all traffic for any kind of transport, including cars (but they’re mainly used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders)

You can explore public rights of way on the West Berkshire Online Map.