What are public rights of way?


North Tyneside’s PRoW network plays host to the historic Waggonways and covers a wide variety of landscapes with varying surfaces through urban and rural settings including housing estates, farm land and parks across the Borough.

These pages have been written for the public and land managers and will help you find out more about the different types of rights of way and what your rights and responsibilities are when using or managing them.

Public Rights of Way are highways over which the public have the right to pass and re-pass and are protected by law. Unless they are stopped up by legal means, they remain 'highways' even if they are not recognisable on the ground, hence the saying 'Once a highway, always a highway'. 

This is the description of the various types of Public Right of Way and other commonly referred to paths and trails.

Public Footpaths

The public has a right of way on foot. Often, footpaths will cross fields containing livestock or crops; they may be muddy, and generally 'rural' in feel.


The public has a right of way on on foot, pedal cycle, horseback and leading a horse. Those cycling must give way to other users. These routes often cross farmland and therefore may include gates.

Restricted byway

The public has a right of way on foot, pedal cycle, horseback or leading a horse, or with a horse drawn vehicle. Restricted byways do not carry public rights for motor vehicles. (All RUPPs were reclassified as restricted byways under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000).

Byways open to all traffic (BOATs)

As the name suggests, these routes - often simply called byways - are for those on foot, pedal cycle, and horseback, leading a horse, horse-drawn carriages and motor vehicles - including motorcycles. 

Public Rights of Way are recorded on the definitive map and statement which is conclusive evidence in law of their status, position and existence.


If you have any queries or wish to report a problem on a PRoW please contact:

Graeme Clark (MIPRoW) 
PRoW, Definitive Map & Cycle Network Officer, 
North Tyneside Council
Cobalt Park 
Newcastle upon Tyne 
NE27 0BY

Telephone: (0191) 643 6086    

Email: graeme.clark@northtyneside.gov.uk