Landowner deposits and statements

Recording rights of way

How a public right of way can be established

Public rights of way can come into being by deemed dedication. A public right of way such as a footpath or a bridleway may be recorded if it is shown that there has been at least 20 years uninterrupted use of a way by the public 'as of right' (without force, secrecy or permission). This is known as 'deemed dedication'. Anyone can make an application (under section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) to have a route recorded or upgraded on the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way (the legal record). For further information see the Modifying the Definitive Map page.

We have a duty to investigate all such applications that are submitted.

What a landowner can do to prevent an application being successful

A landowner can show that they have no intention of dedicating a public right of way if they undertake 'overt' actions to make it clear to the public that they have no 'right' to cross or be on their land, such as:

  • The erection of carefully worded notices sited in relevant locations
  • The locking of a gate at least once a year
  • Challenges to users of the way, making a note of dates, times and names if possible
  • The depositing of a statement and map followed by a subsequent declaration under section 31(6) of the 1980 Highway Act

About depositing a map and statement

Section 31(6) of the 1980 Highway Act enables a landowner to deposit a statement accompanied with a map, followed by a declaration, with the council, acknowledging any existing public rights of way across their land, at the same time as declaring that they have no intention to dedicate any further routes to the public. The landowner must renew a deposit according to the regulations within 20 years to remain effective.

What depositing a map and statement does not do

This process has no effect on the existence of public rights of way already shown on the definitive map or otherwise shown to carry public rights, including by deemed dedication by virtue of 20 years use, before the map and statement was deposited.

Please note that this process does not apply to cases where an application to record a public right of way is based on historical documentary evidence.

Make an application

Further guidance is available on the GOV.UK website, including a copy of the CA16 application form that you must complete for any deposit:

The guidance also relates to deposits that a landowner can make to prevent the establishment of town or village green status over land. For any queries relating to town or village greens contact the commons registration office.

CA17 forms should be sent to:

  • Public Rights of Way, Plough Lane, Hereford HR4 0LE

Cost of processing a deposit

The current charge for the processing of a simple deposit affecting a single parcel of land under these provisions is £300 but this may be subject to review. Deposits affecting multiple or very large sites will incur additional charges.

Registers and personal data

Once a map and statement and/or declaration is lodged with the council, the documents and all the details within them become available for public inspection. This includes the map and name and address of the landowner. For further information see our public rights of way privacy notice.

How to view the register of deposits

The register of deposits spreadsheet lists all the deposits. To view the documents associated with a deposit, view the deposit reference number and then find the document with that number. Due to the number of deposits, we have split the deposits into three pages:

Further help

You may wish to obtain your own independent legal advice but for general enquiries contact the public rights of way department on 01432 383550, email or use the online contact form.