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Example 1

Photo taken from X on map.

This path may have been created in order to cut straight across a field rather than have people use the two paths going diagonally across the field and damage more crops. Or it may have been wartime powers in 1939-45, many pasture paths were informally (and sometimes unlawfully) 'moved' during those years for war production purposes. Both of the other paths, which are on the definitive map, had been blocked-up for many years (despite the Highway Authority duty to deal with them) the westerly one was opened in around 2003 but regularly ploughed. Even if both were unblocked they would be much less convenient for most walkers in this area.

We would expect in this case that the highway authority would use the threat of prosecution for the obstructions, coupled with reminding the underlying landholder of the strong case available if brought to a time-consuming inquiry.  That might ensure that this unrecorded route is made part of a deal, getting all paths recorded to a good width and perhaps the path users forgoing something else less important on the same estate as part of that deal. All could be completed within a year or so, in plenty of time for the end 2025 deadline. Unfortunately the Highway Authority concerned very rarely takes a tough line thereby reducing greatly the chance of success and they sometimes try harder to meet the nearby landowners' wishes than the path users'. So this case may have to have a claim made soon, which would come up for decision in say 2019 assuming the local backlog of such cases doesn't get any longer.

Example 2

This wide 'urban/rural alleyway' leads off a village street (this street, despite the dotted line, goes across this picture, side to side close to both white fences). The alley leads to a definitive footpath going cross country and one behind houses to the north. It also leads to a row of houses, only one with vehicular frontage, set well behind the house shown on the left. None of the alley is on the Definitive Map. The list of streets doesn't mention any branch like this off the road. The building on the right carries a statutory Highways Act notice saying that the bit down the side is private and is not a right of way. But it omits to say how much of the width it applies to. In fact the ownership extends only to the left hand side of the hut. So assuming that notice is valid and the right half is indeed private what is the status of the left hand part of this way? We are not yet clear, but there are some private rights of way over it which might suggest it is not public road (which wouldn't normally be shown on the definitive map).

So this path may well be closed on 1st January 2026. More likely it will be closed up some years after that when a new owner moves into the house at the end of the tarmac. He could easily demonstrate it was a public path in 1949 as required by the 2000 CRoW Act and that it was not on the definitive map on 31st December 2025. The only counter to that would be to prove it was public road, probably very difficult to do.

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