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Public Rights of Way & Countryside Access

Public rights of way provide a legally defined network of paths that allows everyone to explore and enjoy the coast and countryside of the Redcar & Cleveland area, whether by walking, cycling or horse riding. Altogether there are about 400 kilometres of public rights of way in the Borough, approximately 100 kilometres of which are in the North York Moors National Park. They include part of the Cleveland Way, a 110 mile National Trail from Helmsley to Filey. Within Redcar & Cleveland the Trail goes from Roseberry Topping to Saltburn and then down the coast to Staithes. Access to the countryside is also available on Open Access land (mainly over moorland in the North York Moors National Park) where there is a "right to roam" on foot, without necessarily having to stay on public rights of way.

The responsibility for managing and maintaining the paths, tracks or lanes that make up the public rights of way network is shared between Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority. While most of the information on the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council web-site is general to all public rights of way some of it may be specific to those managed by the Borough Council. Advice should be sought from the North York Moors National Park Authority on any queries relating specifically to public rights of way or Open Access within the National Park.

Finding your own way

The term "public right of way" means a way over land where members of the public have a right to pass and repass and to enjoy activities that are "reasonably incidental". This means (subject to the different categories of public rights of way described below) that you can walk, cycle or ride on the right of way. You can take children in a buggy, pram or push-chair and you can stop to rest, have a picnic, enjoy the view take photographs etc. You can take your dog of course but they should be under close control, particularly around livestock, and stay with you on the right of way. There are restrictions on dogs on some Open Access land.

Public Footpaths are limited to walkers, they are a right of way on foot only, but this includes wheelchairs and mobility scooters (though the extent of suitable access might of course be determined by the natural landscape).

Public Bridleways are rights of way for walkers (as above) and horse riders and cyclists. On mixed use routes consideration for others is to be expected of all users. Cyclists are generally required to give way to other users.

Byways Open to All Traffic are (in addition to all of the above) a right of way for motor vehicles. But they often follow old unsealed lanes or tracks making them mainly suitable for walkers, cyclists or horse riders. Some of the byways in the Borough are subject to prohibition of driving orders that prevent their use by motor vehicles.

All public rights of way should be fairly easy to find and follow. They should be signposted where they leave a road and have directional signs or "way-markers" along the route to help you to find your way. Public footpaths are usually way-marked with yellow arrows, bridleways with blue arrows and byways with red arrows. There may be additional way-markers or variations in design when the path or way that you are following is part of a named trail. The best example is the acorn logo that marks the Cleveland Way National Trail.

Ordnance Survey maps are the ideal way to find public rights of way, open access land and other useful information for visiting the countryside. They are usually available in most bookshops and from some newsagents. Outdoor Leisure No.26 (North York Moors Western Area) and Outdoor Leisure No.27 (North York Moors Eastern Area) cover most of the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland, apart from a small area around Redcar and Marske which is shown in Ordnance Survey Explorer No.306.

You'll always get more out of your visit to the countryside if you plan ahead, think about others and take care of the natural environment. The Countryside Code gives helpful information and advice.

Temporary Closures

Unfortunately it is sometimes necessary to close a public right of way temporarily, usually when it's affected by works or an emergency of some sort. More information is given on the following link:

View current Public Rights of Way closures

Countryside walks - the view from Little Roseberry
The view from Little Roseberry

Reporting Problems
Footpath and permissive bridleway signWe work hard to keep public rights of way in the area safe and easy to use. As well as having hundreds of kilometres of path surfaces to maintain there are about 400 stiles, over 200 gates, about 160 bridges or culverts, 250 flights of steps and around 850 signposts to look after. You should find all of these in reasonable condition but if you do come across any problems please let us know. When you contact us we'll need some details, such as your name and address, telephone number, or e-mail. These won't be passed on to anyone else, it's just really helpful if we are able to get in touch with you again, whether that's to check the details, to let you know what's happening or just to tell you that the problem has been attended to.

It always helps if you can give us a clear and accurate description of the problem and it's location (a grid reference helps). It can be really helpful (and save us a lot of time) if you have a digital camera with you and can send us photograph of the problem by e-mail. Checking the Rights of Way Mapis another good way of telling us exactly where the problem is. Every path managed by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has its own unique reference number and it's really helpful if you can quote this number when you contact us. Use the + and - keys to zoom in and out of the map. Click the cursor on the relevant path and an information box will appear showing the "Type" (footpath, bridleway etc.) and a "Route Code" for that particular path.

The code number is made up of three parts, for example, 118/3/1 is part of the Cleveland Way at Skelton Green. The first part (118) is the parish or area code. The second part (3) is the path number within that particular Parish or area and the third part (1) is the "link", i.e. a specific sub-section of the whole path. If you can tell us this Route Code when you contact us we can immediately identify where the problem is.

Other Public Rights of Way Information and Advice
Public Rights of Way Map
Local Access Forum
Rights of Way Improvement Plan
Definitive Map and Planning

Other Useful Information (external websites).
Walking for Health
Natural England

Contact Us

You can get in touch through the Council's Contact Centre, particularly if you just want to report a minor problem. If you need more detailed information or advice on any public rights of way or countryside access matter please contact the Highways & Engineering team:

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