West Berkshire Council

Closures, Restrictions and Motor Vehicles on Public Rights of Way

Legal closures and restrictions on West Berkshire Public Rights of Way (PRoW) and use by Motor Vehicles

Motor Vehicles (Byways Open to All Traffic only)

Members of the public have a right to drive motor vehicles (eg motorcars, motorbikes) on Byways Open to All Traffic. Using motor vehicles along any other types of public right of way (public footpaths, public bridleways or restricted byways) without legal authority, such as from a landowner or through a private right of access, is an offence.

Byways open to all traffic are defined as being mainly used by pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians. They are generally unsurfaced, and therefore vulnerable to becoming damaged by heavy motor vehicle use, especially in wet weather. The public also have a right to use byways open to all traffic on foot, bicycle, horseback and in non-motorised vehicles (pony-and-trap).

Please use byways responsibly. Driving without due care and attention, or damaging the surface of a byway open to all traffic is an offence. Vehicles must be road legal (with road tax, MOT, insurance) and drivers must hold a valid road licence. If you see any illegal activity on any public right of way, please report it to Thames Valley Police on telephone number 101 or via the their vehicle misuse reporting form.

Permanent Traffic Regulation Orders

We can make permanent Traffic Regulation Orders to prohibit or restrict public access along public rights of way. These are ongoing once made, but may only apply for certain months of each year (eg to protect the surface of byways open to all traffic during wet winter months). Our downloadable map showing pdf icon Permanent Traffic Regulation Orders [2Mb] gives more information about the locations of orders currently in effect. You can also see a map and list of temporary and permanent Traffic Regulations currently in effect on our online map

Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders

We can make temporary Traffic Regulation Orders to restrict or prohibit public use of public rights of way (and also ordinary public roads). These are often made for public safety during physical works carried out by the council or third parties, and can last for up to six months (this period can be extended with the authorisation of the Secretary of State for Transport). For details on how to apply for these, please see the link to our webpage for Temporarily Closing the Public Highway.

You can view current temporary Traffic Regulation orders in West Berkshire online. You can view Traffic Regulation Orders affecting the ordinary public road network via the following link: roadworks webpage.

The Ridgeway National Trail

For more information on restrictions on the Ridgeway, please see National Trails in West Berkshire.

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