Public Rights of Way

Public Rights of Way give a right of access for members of the public over land in private ownership.


They provide an important way for the public to access and enjoy the countryside.


Responsibility for paths in the countryside is divided between landowners and the Council.


Responsible use of the countryside by the public is equally important, information for users can be found in the Countryside Codes.


The Council’s role, as the Highway Authority for the area, includes maintaining path surfaces, maintaining bridges, mapping paths, administering changes and taking enforcement action to resolve obstructions. Further information on the Council’s responsibilities can be found within guidance on the Welsh Government’s website.


Landowners responsibilities include maintaining gates and stiles (liaising with council when doing so), cutting back overhanging vegetation, reinstating paths through ploughed land or crops and ensuring certain animals (e.g. particular breeds of bull) are not stocked in fields to which the public has access.


The Council also works with various groups representing the interests of both users and landowners, such as the Ramblers Association, British Horse Society and Valeways. Valeways are a charitable body who work alongside the Council to co-ordinate volunteers and help improve the County’s rights of way, as well as prepare leaflets and other information on walks in the Vale area.

There are approximately 586 km of Public Rights of Way in our County, including:

  • 525 km of Public Footpaths – Can be used only by walkers
  • 39 km of Bridleways – Can be used by walkers, horse riders and cyclists
  • 22 km of Restricted Byways – Can be used by walkers, horse riders, cyclists and to non-motorised vehicles


Your-Vale-mappingDefinitive Map of Public Rights of Way

The routes and designations of the paths within our County are shown on The Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way and described in the accompanying Statement. The document has a relevant date of 15th March, 2016 and provides a snapshot of the public rights of way network on that day.


The Map is a legal document and is proof of the existence of a public right of way at that date. Any subsequent changes to the network are made by legal order.


Members of the public may apply for an order to make a change to the Definitive Map, a register of applications may be viewed on this website. A register of landowner declarations regarding rights of way over their land, is also available.


GIS Mapping

All public footpaths can be easily located using the GIS mapping feature.  This is accessible via the 'Your Vale' section of this website, simply type your postcode into the box below to access:



Your Vale is updated on a weekly basis and also includes other feature such as the locations of community facilities, planning information and ward boundaries.


Register of Applications to modify the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way

Applications made under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Section 53:


Rights of Way Improvement Plan

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is required to publish a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP). The ROWIP is intended as an over-arching framework to guide the Council’s work to maintain and improve the rights of way network and to prioritise the work that is done, and provides the basis for annual work-planning.


With the Local Access Forum, the Council has agreed a Vision for the Vale’s public rights of way network:

  • To provide, maintain and improve the network of Public Rights of Way and countryside access for everyone
  • To enable and encourage increasingly convenient and responsible use and enjoyment of the Vale’s countryside and coast

Improvement of the Public Rights of Way Network

The Council works with a charitable body known as Valeways to improve the rights of way network.

They co-ordinate a team of volunteers who play a large part in our improvement programme each year, as well as prepare leaflets and other information on walks in the Vale area. Visit Valeways to find out more about how you can help us improve our public rights of way network. We are helped in this work by grants from organisations like the Countryside Council for Wales.

The Local Access Forum

The Local Access Forum meets four times a year.

The function of the Local Access Forum is to advise the Vale of Glamorgan Council, the Countryside Council for Wales and others as to the improvement of public access to land in the Vale for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area.


View reports, agendas and minutes of the Local Access Forum meetings.


Public speaking at Public Rights of Way Sub-Committee

There is provision for public speaking at meetings of the Public Rights of Way Sub-Committee.


A Guide to Public Speaking at Public Rights of Way Sub-Committee explains the process and how to register to speak:


Register to Speak