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Rights of way consultation

Working together to manage the rights of way network

More people will be able to benefit from volunteering in the outdoors following the rights of way consultation. 

Staffordshire has one of the largest rights of way networks in the country with over 4,500km of bridleways and footpaths, and the county council is committed to keeping them open and safe for people to use and enjoy.

However, as the council’s income reduces but demand for services such as adult social care increases, the council needs to find new ways of working in everything it does, which includes the rights of way network.

Your council’s small rights of way team receives over 2,000 calls a year and needs a way to ensure that the smaller amount of money available and officers’ time is spent on those paths and issues that add most value to the people of Staffordshire.

Hundreds of stakeholders, partners and members of the public took part in a 10 week consultation which was held at the end of last year. This was about proposals to use council resources better but also about what to do to get more members of the community involved and benefiting from the social, health and wellbeing  advantages of volunteering in the outdoors.  

It is clear from the consultation that community groups and local organisations are willing to get more involved and support the rights of way network.

Consultation headlines

You said

We will

Over two – thirds of local councils (parish councils, town councils, etc) are willing to consider taking on more of a role in liaising with landowners to ensure that rights of way on their land are safe and available for everyone to use.

The county council will be starting a conversation with local councils and the Staffordshire Parish Council Association about how this could work and the support and grants that are available to landowners. The county council is extending the Community Paths Initiative (typically grants of up to £2,000) to support re-surfacing, gates, bridges and vegetation control, etc, that promote or improve countryside access  to support landowners. 

How the council has categorised each right of way is largely correct - three quarters of the paths were not contested.

That we needed to look at local insight about 99 paths that were received through the consultation.

The A, B, C categorisation system will see proactive maintenance primarily focus on A paths, with issues addressed on A paths ahead of those categorised as B or C.

77 paths have been re-categorised to receive more direct support from the council than was originally proposed.

PDF DocumentChanges to the categorisation of  individual paths (15kb)

Map - how each route is now categorised   

The proposed times for dealing with issues on paths and to undertake path inspections was too long.

The council has reduced the times that were originally proposed with regards to how quickly issues are dealt with by the council and the time between path inspections.

PDF DocumentRights of Way Target Standards (526kb)

A third of respondents said that they would be interested in getting more involved in   looking after the rights of way network.


The  council will continue to run the Countryside Volunteer Programme, which encourages people to get involved in a variety of outdoor activities such as installing and repairing path surfaces gates, stiles, foot-bridges and steps. The council is also looking to introduce new schemes such as an Adopt a Path Scheme.

To express an interest in helping us to develop the volunteer programmes or to become a countryside volunteer, please email   ruralvolunteering@staffordshire.gov.uk

 Read our frequently asked questions

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