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What are public rights of way?

Public rights of way are routes, usually across land which is privately owned, over which the public have the right to travel.

Of the 650km (around 400 miles) of public rights of way within the City and County of Swansea, nearly 515km is public footpath and around 136km is public bridleways.

Public footpaths

Marked with yellow arrows.

Public footpaths can be used by walkers, including wheelchair users and, although not all routes are accessible for all users. As with all public rights of way you may also take a dog, although you will need to keep it on a lead or under close control. There is no right to ride a push bike along a public footpath.

It is common for people to confuse public footpaths with pavements. Pavements or footways beside public roads are looked after by our Highways Team.

Public bridleways

Marked with blue arrows.

Public bridleways are for use by walkers, horse riders and cyclists. However, cyclists are required to give way to both walkers and horse riders.

We are not under a duty to maintain public bridleways to a standard suitable for cyclists, however we do try to improve the surface of bridleways to a standard which is acceptable to all.

Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs)

These routes (often simply called byways) are for walkers, horse riders, cyclists and vehicles - including horse-drawn carriages, motorcycles and other motor vehicles. There are three byways within the City and County of Swansea.

Public rights and private rights

Be careful to distinguish between public rights of way and private rights of access. We do not hold records of private rights of access, way leaves (a right of way granted by a landowner) or easements. Different rules apply to private access and you should therefore seek your own legal advice on such matters.

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