Definitive Map and Statement

About the definitive map and statement

The definitive map is a legal record indicating the position and status of public rights of way, while the definitive statement is a description of each public right of way shown on the online definitive map. The statement sometimes records the width of a route, or describes any 'furniture' such as gates and stiles on the route at the time it was first surveyed. Together they form a legal document and are maintained by the county council. The definitive map and statement is conclusive evidence for the paths it shows, but there may be other paths with public rights which are not shown.

Keeping the map up to date

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 requires that the definitive map and statement is continually updated to incorporate the changes that have come about through legal events.

Since publication, various legal orders have been made to modify the Definitive Map. These reflect the numerous path diversions, creations, closures and other changes that have occurred since the map was prepared.  

Changing the definitive map and statement

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 allows anyone to apply to the council to make an order to change the definitive map and statement if they believe the map is incorrect. 

These are called Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMOs) and can be made if evidence is found to show that:

  • a route that should be shown isn't shown
  • a route that is shown shouldn't be on the definitive map
  • a route is shown as having the wrong status (for example, shown as a footpath instead of bridleway)
  • a route is shown on the wrong line
  • a route should be more precisely defined (for example, have its width recorded)

Evidence may be historical (for example, old maps, tithe plans, enclosure awards) and/or user evidence, where the public have been using the route uninterrupted for more than 20 years. 

The guidance and application papers are attached to this page.

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