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Rights of way charter

Coronavirus - latest guidance 

Updated government guidance is that the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus is to stay alert.

Exercise is still important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing, so the government has said people can leave their homes for unlimited exercise, including travelling to do so.

Rights of way near to people's homes can provide a great place to exercise, but some footpaths and bridleways go very near to people’s homes and to working farms and stables. At this time of year, farm animals and wildlife are rearing young, so it can also be a sensitive time when particular care is needed.

This page provides guidance to path users and to landowners on how to get the best balance so people can get their daily exercise while also keeping everyone safe.




Advice for rights of way users

When using public footpaths and bridleways for exercise, please:

  • keep the recommended distance if you encounter other users, farm workers or landowners - 2 metres (6 feet) apart
  • no gatherings, group activities or events of more than 6 people. You can partake in exercise with up to 6 people from different households as long as you stay more than 2 metres apart from those that you don’t live with or that are not in your support bubble.
  • leave gates as you find them - some landowners may tie gates open at this time to avoid the need for path users to touch the gate
  • consider using any alternative routes suggested that enable you to avoid going near houses and working farm or stable areas
  • hand wash or sanitise when you return home
  • many wild animals are now rearing young, as are livestock on farmland - stay on paths and keep dogs on a lead around livestock and away from other people or dogs
  • follow the countryside code

If you encounter a problem when using the path network please report it to us.



Staffordshire has an extensive public rights of way network, comprising over 8,000 individual routes, spanning over 4,500km. 

We work with landowners, parish councils and user groups to protect the public's right to use and enjoy the network. 

Whilst every footpath and bridleway is important, an approach is needed that concentrates our limited rights of way resources on those routes and issues that deliver the greatest benefit. Therefore, each route has been assessed against nine criteria (such as demand, proximity to publicly accessible land and local services), which places it into one of three categories - A, B and C. Each category has a different response time, dependant on the issue identified. For example, a missing fingerpost on an A category route will be dealt with sooner than a missing fingerpost on a C category route. The exception to this is where an issue poses an imminent danger, likely to result in a significant accident or injury, and in these instances, we will respond straightaway, regardless of a route’s category. 

The rights of way charter (459 KB) sets out the standards that we aim to meet when we have received an enquiry. Please note that these are desired standards and they are dependent on many factors, including available manpower and budget, weather and ground conditions, accessibility to the site, and environmental issues.

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