Rights of Way
You can view a map of all of the rights of way (footpaths, bridleways and byways) in your local area and across the whole Borough by visiting MyMK Mapping system. Simply click on “My Maps”, choose the “public rights of way” tick box from the list on the left side of the screen, then navigate across the map to your chosen location.
Some examples of the many legal rights and responsibilities of the General Public are listed below:
- Pass and re-pass on a Public Right of Way;
- Stop to look at the view, take a photograph, sit down to rest and so on;
- Take a pram, pushchair, wheelchair and other natural accompaniments but expect to encounter stiles on footpaths;
- Take a dog, preferably on a lead, but always under close control;
- Take a short route around an illegal obstruction;
- Remove an illegal obstacle sufficiently to get past.
Users may not:
- Roam over land at will, deviating from the line of the Right of Way unless it is to pass an obstruction;
- Use a vehicle on a byway if it is not registered, taxed and insured, or to drive recklessly, carelessly or without consideration;
- Use a Right of Way for any purpose other than as a right of passage;
- Set up tables, chairs and picnic equipment;
- Cause any unnecessary damage;
- Pedal recklessly on bridleways;
- Scrump fruit. (to steal (apples e.t.c) from an orchard or garden)
- Lack of use has no effect on the legal existence of a right of way;
- You must leave land to which you have no legal right of access if asked to do so by the owner or his representative;
- A Right of Way should be wide enough for two walkers to pass in comfort. A Bridleway should allow two horses to pass each other comfortably. The Definitive Map however, may specify the width of a path in certain circumstances;
- Cyclists and horseriders must not use footpaths (except with permission of the landowner);
- Cyclists must give way to riders and walkers on bridleways;
- When walking or riding in groups, please travel in single file where necessary, (for example through crops), and do not spread out beyond the width of the path.
The countryside is the home and workplace of many people. To help you get the maximum enjoyment out of walking in Milton Keynes and to ensure walkers continue to be welcomed in the countryside, we advise the following:
- Be prepared. When out walking wear Suitable footwear and warm, waterproof clothing.
- Be responsible. Although you are following public rights of way, these do cross private land. Please keep to the path, shut gates behind you and keep dogs on leads where farm animals are present in fields. Please take your litter home. Cars must not be parked where they may cause obstruction to local residents or access to a field.
- Be careful. Short sections of some published walks and rides follow narrow country lanes or cross main roads. Take special care on bends and walk to face on-coming traffic.
- Be informed. Plan your walk ensuring you have an appropriate map or guide book.
- Respect the countryside, wildlife and people who live in the countryside and ensure your activities do not cause damage or undue disturbance
Grazing animals - Sheep and other livestock, such as cattle and ponies can be found in many areas of parkland in Milton Keynes; Please remember to keep your pet on a lead around grazing livestock - no matter how well trained they are they may give chase. Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 it is an offence to allow your dog to worry sheep. Remember, dogs can legally be seized and/or destroyed if they are endangering or worrying sheep.
A leaflet with information and advice is available to download here (PDF, 809KB), or visit The Parks Trust web page.
The Council is responsible for:
- The Council's duty is to record, define and protect all public rights of way in the county. The Definitive Map and Statement is a legal document which records the line and status of routes. It is conclusive proof that a public right of way exists and safeguards it even when it is not apparent on the ground. The Definitive Map and Statement is constantly under review to reflect changes in the network, such as path diversions or new rights of way which have been added. Applications can be made to the County Council to add, delete or revise the status of a public right of way if there is clear evidence for such a change;
- Signpost footpaths, bridleways and byways, where they leave a metalled road and waymark along the paths where appropriate;
- Maintain and control natural vegetation on the surface of rights of way. In practice, many remote countryside paths may require additional maintenance;
- Provide and maintain bridges over natural water courses and ditches;
- Make grants to farmers or landowners of at least 25% of the cost of maintaining existing authorised stiles and gates or supply such material if in stock;
- Administer the law concerning rights of way, which involves investigating complaints and taking appropriate action in co-operation with the landowner. This may lead to enforcement or legal action to ensure public access.
The Milton Keynes Definitive Map is a legal record of all the borough’s public rights of way (footpaths, bridleways and byways). The Definitive Map is accompanied by a Definitive Statement, that describes all those rights of way shown on the map. View the Definitive Map at MyMK Mapping system Simply click on “My Maps”, choose the “public rights of way” tick box from the list on the left side of the screen, then navigate across the map to your chosen location.
Anyone can apply to modify the Definitive Map and Statement if they consider it is incorrect. If made and confirmed, The Definitive Map and Statement will be amended to ensure that it is a correct record of the public rights of way. This procedure is open to consultation and therefore may take some time before completion. Milton Keynes Council, as surveying authority, is required to keep a register of Definitive Map Modification Orders.
Under the Highways Act 1980, anyone may apply to the local authority for the diversion or extinguishment of a public right of way. This procedure is open to consultation and therefore may take some time before completion. Fee’s are also associated with such applications. Milton Keynes Council, as surveying authority, keeps a register of Public Paths Orders.
This form can be used if a public right of way needs to be diverted over a railway crossing. This procedure is open to consultation and therefore may take some time before completion. Fee’s are also associated with such applications.
This is a voluntary declaration for landowners who can formalise for themselves the Rights of Way that cross their land. This does not stop people claiming new Rights however. This gives the landowner legal proof of the routes in existence at the time of the declaration.
A highway authority may authorise the erection, by the owner, lessee or occupier, of a stile or gate to prevent the ingress or egress of animals on land which is used, or being brought into use for agriculture or forestry, or for the breeding or keeping of horses. Please return completed forms to the Customer Services Team .
This guide provides an overview of the basic law relating to the registration of land as a Town or Village Green and the procedure for dealing with applications at Milton Keynes Council. It is correct as at September 2015.
The Commons Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”) provides for applications to be made to the Registration Authority, Milton Keynes Council, to register land as a new Town or Village green. This process is a matter of considerable significance that will require commitment from the applicant and Milton Keynes Council.
Last Updated: 28 July 2020