Frequently Asked Questions

If you find a problem on a Public Right of Way, contact us.
Prams, wheelchairs, and dogs are considered to be 'usual accompaniments' on all PRoW. Although the law does not state that dogs must be on a lead, you should ensure your dog is under close control at all times, especially in rural areas where there is livestock.
As the highway authority for North Tyneside we own the surface of all PRoW, the landowners' interest only extends to the sub-soil. It is an offence to interfere with the surface of a public right of way to the detriment of users and we have a duty to protect the interests of users and the PRoW. We can take enforcement action to ensure the surface of PRoW unlawfully disturbed is reinstated. Occupiers of land can disturb the surface of a right of way by special license if they first apply to us to do so, and by statutory licence in respect of ploughing. We are also responsible for ensuring that (undergrowth) vegetation growing in the surface of the PRoW is kept under control (expect crops) and does not make the route difficult to use. Overgrowth - plants growing across the path from beside it - is the responsibility of the landowner.
The landowner is responsible for ensuring that vegetation does not overhang a public right of way so as to obstruct it. We do have a right to remove so much of the overgrowth to prevent obstruction to pedestrians and equestrians. Additionally, we have powers to require that the owners of overhanging hedges lop or cut back the hedge within a period of 14 days. (Highways Act 1980 section 154).
The council has a duty to place a signpost wherever a PRoW leaves a surfaced road.  Way marks also help the landowner, as they assist path users in keeping to the correct line of the path, thus reducing the chances of trespass. Misleading and unlawful signs can deter people from lawfully exercising their right to use paths, and we have a duty to prevent such occurrences.
TResponsibility for the provision, repair and maintenance of bridges and culverts is shared between us and the landowner, and may be different in each case. We are responsible for most footbridges, but where a public footpath or bridleway crosses a bridge, over which there are private motor vehicle rights maintenance is likely to be the responsibility of the landowner. The rail authority is responsible for the structure of most footbridges over railway lines.
Responsibility for the clearance of litter on a public right of way rests with the council.
It is the duty of the landowner to ensure that any stiles and gates are kept in a good state of repair. Our duty only extends to ensuring that the landowner complies with this obligation. If an occupier of land wishes to install additional stiles or gates on footpaths or bridleways, they must apply in writing to us for authority to do so. To erect stiles or gates without this authority is an unlawful obstruction and is a criminal offence. The only circumstance for which we can provide authorisation for the erection of new stiles or gates is that the structures are required for stock control purposes. (The Highways Act 1980 section 147). If stiles and gates are not referred to in the definitive map and statement we can request their removal.
The first thing to do is check that the path is recorded as a Public Right of Way by contacting us. If the right of way is recorded, in most cases we will be able to take action to clear any obstructions on the right of way.  If the path is not currently recorded it may be possible to claim it as such (see Definitive Map section for further information).