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Frequently Asked Questions - Public Rights of Way (PROW)

Where can I see the Definitive Map?

The Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way is a legal document and is conclusive evidence in law of the particulars it contains.

The Map is normally available for inspection without appointment between 9a.m. and 4.45p.m. Monday to Friday at Abbey Road South, Wrexham Industrial Estate. Ask at the reception desk for Public Rights of Way. If you make an appointment, however, we can ensure someone will be available to answer your queries.

The Definitive Map is a 'snapshot' of rights of way in 1978, so in many respects it is out of date and can be difficult to interpret. (Please see next question.) For more information telephone 01978 298989 or email rightsofway@wrexham.gov.uk.

What's the best way to find out where the public rights of way are?

By far the best way is to buy a Ordnance Survey "Explorer" Map. Most of the county is on map 256 "Wrexham & Llangollen". East of a line between Rossett and Overton you would need map 257 "Crewe & Nantwich" and for the furthest part of the Ceiriog Valley, map 255 "Llangollen & Berwyn". The south-eastern extremity of the Maelor is on map 241.

Explorer maps are quite up to date and show rights of way and any changes that have taken place very clearly. They also show field boundaries, so it is easy to see where the paths run. The Ordnance Survey gets the public rights of way information from the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way held by the Council and from copies of diversion orders and other changes we have sent to them. For more information telephone 01978 298989 or email rightsofway@wrexham.gov.uk.

My map reading isn't very good, is there an easier way to start walking?

Map reading skills are not essential to enjoy a good walk. Please refer to the Walks section of our website for walking opportunities in the Country Borough. In addition there are many published guides for local walks. There are 5 or 6 books of walks in our area plus about 30 leaflets of single walks. These are an excellent introduction to the rights of way network. You can find them in the Tourist Information Centre, bookshops and several other outlets.

Who would I contact if there was a problem with a path I use?

If the path is unsurfaced and rural in character, it may be a recorded public right of way, so telephone Public Rights of Way Section on 01978 298989 or email rightsofway@wrexham.gov.uk

If, however, the path is either

  • a footway or "pavement" alongside a road; or
  • a link footpath within a housing estate (i.e. most sealed surface paths); or
  • any other path in an urban area

please telephone Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleaning on 01978 298989.

Is there a Local Access Forum in Wrexham?

Wrexham County Borough Council set up the Local Access Forum in November 2002 in accordance with the provisions of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The Forum advises the local authority, the Countryside Council for Wales and others on the improvement of public access to land for open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area. This includes both the improvement of public rights of way and the new right of access to open country and registered common land.

For more information view the Local Access Forum web pages, email laf@wrexham.gov.uk.

Is there access land in Wrexham?

Yes.  The right of access started 28 May 2005 and in Wrexham it applies only to the open country and registered common land of Ruabon, Minera and Esclusham Mountain and the Berwyn Range above the Ceiriog Valley.  The latest editions of the Ordinance Survey Explorer maps show Access Land with a yellow tint.  With assistance from Countryside Council for Wales, the Council is strimming all the public rights of way across access land.  These paths should now be easy to follow and provide an excellent base from which you may wish to explore further afield.

For more information, please see the Countryside Council for Wales website at www.naturalresources.wales (link to external website).

How can I get a path that I have been using for many years recorded on the Definitive Map?

This is a complex issue and you should contact Public Rights of Way on 01978 298989 for advice or email rightsofway@wrexham.gov.uk.

Very briefly you may make an application under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to have the path added to the Definitive Map. The application must be accompanied by all available documentary evidence and evidence of use. If there are no objections and the landowner agrees to sign a Creation Agreement, things are comparatively simple.

However, in most cases there are objections and the matter then becomes difficult and very time consuming. Sometimes, if the Council cannot resolve the problem or if the various parties do not accept its decision the matter will be resolved by the National Assembly for Wales. Often a public local inquiry will be called.

How do I prevent a public path becoming established across my land?

The safest way is to submit a declaration under section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980. This will stop any new rights of way coming into being after the date of acceptance by the Council of the declaration. However, it will not negate any public rights of way that had already come into being (e.g. by presumed dedication or 20 years uninterrupted use) before the declaration was signed. For more information telephone 01978 298989 or email rightsofway@wrexham.gov.uk.

How do I divert a Public Right of Way?

Local Authorities may under Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980, divert public rights of way. However, this is a power and not a duty. These changes to the Definitive Map are based on preference rather than evidence. Before making a Diversion Order, the Authority must be satisfied that it is expedient to divert the path in the interests of either the public or the owner, occupier or lessee of the land crossed by the path.

In addition, the Authority has a power under Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to divert a public right of way when necessary to enable planning consent granted by it to be implemented. However, this means that while it is possible to divert a public right of way within the development site, it is not usually possible to divert a public right of way, or any part of it, which is outside the area to which the planning permission relates. The granting of planning permission alone does not give the right to interfere with the public right of way.

For more information on diversions please contact the Rights of Way Section on 01978 298989 or email rightsofway@wrexham.gov.uk.

How do I extinguish a public right of way?

Local Authorities may under Section 118 of the Highways Act 1980, extinguish public rights of way. However, this is a power and not a duty. The Highway Authority can have only one reason in Law for making an Extinguishment Order and that is that it appears expedient on the grounds that the path is not needed for public use. It is quite difficult to prove this and very few applications for extinguishments are successful.

For more information contact the Rights of Way Section on 01978 298989 or email rightsofway@wrexham.gov.uk.