West Berkshire Council

Rights of Way Maintenance and Enforcement

Making sure our network is fit for use, and taking steps when problems occur

Maintenance of Public Rights of Way (PROW)

All public rights of way in West Berkshire are public highways, and are legally protected in the same way as our roads. 
They are the pdf icon overall responsibility of West Berkshire Council [45kb] (as the local Highway Authority), which means that our role includes dealing with obstructions, repairing surfaces, signposting, and ensuring any structures (eg stiles and gates) are safe and convenient to use.

Rights of way are generally maintained to a standard that fits their location and how they're used. This means that there will be differences in the standards of maintenance and the conditions between an urban and rural PROW. Generally an urban PROW should be well-maintained and suitable for children, elderly people, prams and wheelchairs. A rural PROW must be safe and unobstructed, but users should expect to need clothing and footwear suitable for uneven, wet or muddy conditions, particularly in winter.

PROW that are used for access to private land and property have a pdf icon separate policy [46kb] that explains how we approach repair and maintenance.

Enforcement

It is illegal to obstruct a public right of way, for example by:

  • fencing or locking a gate across it
  • installing unauthorized structures
  • reducing its width
  • dumping rubbish
  • interfering with its surface 

Reporting problems or concerns 

If you encounter a problem with a PROW, please report it to us.   The way we assess and prioritise complaints is outlined in our pdf icon enforcement matrix [27kb].

In the meantime, it's permitted to deviate from the line of the PROW in order to "get round" an obstacle, provided that no damage is caused by doing so.

We have a policy for the management of pdf icon damage to West Berkshire's PROW by vehicular use [94kb] that you may find useful to read.

Who To Contact