New Emergency Powers to Restrict Outdoor Access to Prevent the Spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Welsh Government has introduced emergency regulations (The Health Protection (Coronavirus: Closure of Leisure Businesses, Footpaths and Access Land) (Wales) Regulations 2020), that require local authorities to immediately close rights of way and access land where use poses a high risk to the spread of coronavirus.
Although the Council has no closures under the emergency provisions at this time, the situation is under continuous review and may change if the Council identifies areas where groups of people are congregating and actively ignoring the new measures set out by the UK Government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
These emergency regulations underline a strong message that people should not be travelling outside of their local area to access the countryside.
Residents should not travel to visit the countryside unnecessarily and should follow social distancing measures if using local routes in order to protect themselves and others.
Any rights of way or access land closures will be listed on the public rights of way webpage
There are approximately 750 kilometres of public rights of way managed by the Council. The network provides links between the countryside and towns and villages and enables the public to explore the local countryside and heritage.
What is a Public Right of Way?
A public right of way is a route registered on the Definitive Map under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. There are routes in towns, villages and the countryside, though footpaths are not to be confused with highway footways e.g. pavements on the side of the road.
Public Rights of Way are public footpaths, bridleways and byways. The council endeavours to ensure that public rights of way are signposted off roads and way marked along the paths. These are some of the signs to look for:
For use on foot only.
There are over 650km of footpaths in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
For use on foot, horseback and bicycle.
There are over 80km of bridleway in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Open to all traffic including motor vehicles.
There are over 18km of byways in Rhondda Cynon taf.
There are also permissive paths within the borough where the landowner including the Council has given permission and provision for the public to walk across their land. These paths are not recorded on the definitive map.
What are the council's responsibilities?
The Council works to maintain the public rights of way network with maintenance partnerships with parish and town councils. To maintain the public rights of way network we undertake the following task:
- signposts where paths leave a metalled road
- waymark routes where unclear
- maintain surface for walkers and horses (where appropriate)
- cutting and clearing vegetation
- install and maintain bridges
- undertake drainage works
Landowners or occupiers are responsible for controlling vegetation to ensure that the route is always open for use by the public. Landowners also have a duty to maintain stiles and gates on footpaths and bridleways in a good order.
Guidance note for users of public right of way during or following inclement weather
The public rights of way network is made up of footpaths, bridleways and byways, the surfaces of which vary according to the class of use. For example the surface of a footpath should be suitable for the exercise of the public right of way on foot. Some routes will have a natural surface; the condition of which will vary depending on location, weather conditions and seasons. The same will apply to semi-urban routes that may have a tarmac or stone surface.
It is the responsibility of each user of a public right of way to take the necessary precautions before proceeding. Therefore, the user should assess the general state of the route, take appropriate care and be prepared to take an alternative if necessary. Additionally, the user should wear suitable clothing and footwear depending on the weather conditions- waterproofs, wellingtons and /or extra warm clothes carried maybe appropriate.
The user should take special care during or following a period of inclement weather e.g. unusually high levels of rainfall where certain surfaces will become boggy, slippery and / or waterlogged depending on the type of terrain.
Definitive Map Modification Orders
Under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, a Modification Order may be applied for by any person wishing to claim a new public right of way, re-classify or delete an existing one. View the online register of Definitive Map Modification Order Applications.
`Out & About 2` Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP)
‘Out & About Two’ has been drawn up in accordance with the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and takes account of guidance published by the Welsh Government.
The Rights of Way Improvement Plan is a 10-year strategic document that sets out how the Council intends to work with others to help manage and improve the rights of way network to make it more useful for the public.
Out & About Two: The Rights of Way Improvement Plan for Rhondda Cynon Taf 2019 – 2029
Report a problem
You can report a problem on a public right of way using our contact details below.
Public Rights of Way
Unit 7c Hepworth Business Park
Coed Cae Lane
Tel: 01443 425 001
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