Footpaths Blocked by Barbed Wire

Q. Thank you for answering my question [before I have actually asked] by logging on to your website.

I walk my dog along various public footpaths around my area with no problems but recently a land owner has fenced across the path with barbed wire.

I have to climb over this fence to continue to the end of the path which I do.

Can you tell me can I legally cut the wire to allow easy access along the path?

Many Thanks

Elsa Clarence


A. You can (and should) report any blocked footpaths to your local council who will have a 'footpaths officer' (or similar) who deals with such things. You can refer to the local definitive map to make sure that the path you're trying to follow is a right of way and hasn't been diverted somewhere else. The definitive map should be available at the Council Offces or at your local library.

The paths are numbered, so you should report the number of the path thats blocked and the grid reference and nature of the blockage.

Alternatively, contact your local Ramblers Association who should be very interested.

Mike Knipe, Crook


A. Whatever you do, don't take the law into your own hands. I think it highly unlikely that you can legally cut or remove the blockage however justified you may feel. Indeed, you find yourself liable to a private legal action if you do. The land owner may be entitled to block what is commonly thought to be a legal right-of-way - but is on fact only a concessionary path or private land with no right-of-way at all.

Best let the proper authorities deal with the matter.

Mike (Editor)



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