Paths Greenways Bridleways Tracks - Patchetts Green Bridleways Trust
Quick link to Hertfordshire County Council's Reporting Form.

StepDealing with obstructed paths in Hertfordshire
0Paths can come into existence subject to features (such as a gate) which would otherwise be obstructions. Such 'limitations' are recorded in the 'definitive statement' for the path. Separately, the highway authority (the county council or unitary authority) can authorise structures on paths for specific purposes set out in the Highways Act 1980.

This page explains how to find out if an obstruction is a lawful limitation or has been authorised by the council, and gives the first activities in removing an unauthorised (and hence illegal) obstruction.

1The first thing to do is to find out whether the path is recorded on the definitive map of rights of way. Locate the path on which you have spotted a problem.

(If you already know all about your path, you can skip to step 4.)

2If your path is shown, then click on it to find out its parish and number. In this example, the path is "North Mymms 82" and we can see that it is recorded as a bridleway.

If your path is not shown, then things are more difficult. Contact us for advice.

3Click on the underlined path number, here "North Mymms 082". This will open a pdf file of the Definitive Statement for the parish. The Definitive Statement is important, because it records the obstructions to the paths (like gates, stiles or bollards) that the land owner has a right to have. Any other obstructions would have to be approved by the county council.

Find your path number in the statement and check the limitations.

In this example we can see "Limitations: None", so no obstructions on the line of this path are lawful unless the county council has authorised them. If the limitations line is blank, there may be limitations but the landowner would have to prove his right to them, so proceed as for no limitations.

4If the obstruction is not listed, then you should contact the county council at Make sure you give the path parish and number in the subject line, so the council can forward it to the right officer quickly and easily. You will make it much easier for the officer to respond if you include a screen shot of the path with the location of the problem marked, and if you can describe: When you found the problem; how it was a problem to you; and whether you were on foot, horse, cycle and so on. If you have any photographs of the obstruction, they should be sent too, to help the council.

For example, "On Tuesday 16 June 2020 at lunchtime, I found that the gate at (location) on path (Parish and number) had been wired shut. I was unable to get through, so I had to ride home the way I had come."

Don't forget to ask for action. For example, "Please could you get the path reopened, and let me know when this is done. I don't want to ride two miles there again only to find it still blocked so your email would be really helpful."

5You can now correspond with the council to get the obstruction removed.

If you are a registered supporter of the Patchetts Green Bridleways Trust, and need more help, please email us and we will try! Please include a copy of the map showing where the problem is, any photos of the obstruction, and the responses you have received from the council so that we don't simply repeat the work that has already been done.

© 2021 Patchetts Green Bridleways Trust. Registered Charity Number 1109497 (unincorporated body) and 1189953 (CIO). Images are from the website of Hertfordshire County Council. Affiliated to The British Horse Society and the Open Spaces Society.