advice on maintenance of public rights of way

Advice from Kent County Council’s Public Rights of Way & Access Service on maintenance of public rights of way

At the end of the growing cycle it is important to make sure that public rights of way remain open and accessible.

Before ploughing:

  • Ensure your tractor driver or agricultural contractors know where paths are and how to deal with them.
  • Field-edge paths, byways open to all traffic or restricted byways must not be ploughed.
  • Avoid ploughing cross field paths if you can reasonably do so.

Following ploughing:

  • Within 14 days of ploughing, the path must have a firm level surface and be marked on the ground to at least the minimum width.
  • It is good practice, and saves time, to re-establish the footpath before leaving the field, using two or more sets of wheelings.

Further cultivation:

If further cultivation is necessary after the expiry of the 14 day period following ploughing, the path must be reinstated within 24 hours. Again, this is best achieved before leaving the field by marking the path with two or more sets of wheelings.

Unless otherwise stated, the minimum widths of public rights of way are as follows:

  • Cross-field footpath - 1.0 metre
  • Cross-field bridleway - 2.0 metres
  • Cross-field byway/restricted byway - 3.0 metres
  • Field-edge footpath - 1.5 metres
  • Field-edge bridleway - 3.0 metres
  • Field-edge byway/restricted byway - 5.0 metres

Please remember that, if followed, these guidelines will help prevent damage to crops and create a good impression of the agricultural community.  Further information is given in our leaflet ‘Ploughing, Crops and Paths – A Practical Guide’ which can be found by clicking here or go to www.kent.gov.uk and search  “Landowner responsibilities and assistance”

If you farm in Kent and are unsure of the routes of public rights of way on your land, or need guidance on your duties and responsibilities, please telephone the Kent County Council help line on 03000 41 71 71or visit www.kent.gov.uk and search “Public Rights of Way”