How we maintain public rights of way

We're responsible for making sure that public rights of way are free from obstructions. Also that the general public can use them freely and safely.

We inspect and survey them as part of an ongoing improvement programme. From May to October, we clear as many paths as we can to keep them free of surface vegetation.

Landowner/householder responsibilities

Most public rights of way in Barnsley cross private land. Legally landowners need to make sure that they remain open and have easy access.

It's an offence for a landowner to restrict access by:

  • erecting┬álocked gates
  • misleading signs
  • fencing (including electric and barbed wire fencing)
  • farm machinery or vegetation
  • or to intimidate users in any way

Landowners also have the following responsibilities regarding their land:


Landowners and householders are legally responsible to make sure that overhanging vegetation (trees, hedges, shrubs, crops) are cut back. Also that it doesn't encroach on to a right of way, and for removing any waste off the path.

If a landowner fails to keep the right of way clear, we can remove vegetation causing an obstruction. We may charge the offender for the cost of doing so.

Ploughing and cropping

If you're a landowner and you have to plough a cross-field path. Then you're legally responsible for making sure that the path is visible and fit for the public to use within 14 days of starting ploughing, within 24 hours of any further activity during the year. The path must remain open and visible throughout the growth of the crop.

Paths that run along the edge of a field shouldn't be ploughed or disturbed at any time.

Stiles and gates

As a landowner, you need to make sure that any stiles and gates on your property are maintained to a suitable standard. Although we can help in erecting and repairing stiles and gates as needed. If you want to erect a new gate or stile, you need our permission. We'll class any that are erected without permission as an illegal obstruction and we may take legal action.

Bulls and livestock

It's an offence to keep a bull (over 10 months old) of a recognised dairy breed in a field crossed by a right of way.. Bulls of other breeds are also banned, unless they're with cows or heifers.

Never keep an animal that you know to be dangerous on land crossed by a right of way.

For more information