Our duties

Brighton & Hove City Council is responsible for the public rights of way around our city including:

  • footpaths
  • bridleways
  • restricted byways
  • byways open to all traffic

Brighton & Hove City Council will continue to be responsible for rights of way in the South Downs National Park that fall within the authority boundary.

Brighton & Hove City Council has duties under the Highways Act 1980 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to make sure all rights of way are free from obstructions or other nuisances preventing or deterring the public from using a path. These duties include:

  • maintaining the definitive map
  • assessing claims for new rights of way
  • signposting
  • vegetation clearance
  • surface improvements
  • maintaining, enhancing, and promoting the existing network

All public rights of way should be open and able to be used by the public.

Report a problem

To report a problem:

Paths and green spaces access map

You can use the paths and green spaces access map to plan a trip around Brighton & Hove, taking in the beautiful South Downs National Park, coastline, and cityscape. 

The map includes:

  • public rights of way including footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways, and byways
  • permissive paths including permissive footpaths and permissive bridleways
  • open access land and public open spaces
  • cycle paths
  • gateway sites to the National Park from our urban fringe
  • bus stops giving access to the path network and National Park

Other useful maps for planning trips

Rights of Way Improvement Plan

Brighton & Hove City Council has adopted the Rights of Way Improvement Plan (2017 to 2027). The plan sets out how the authority intends to improve provision over the next 10 years for:

  • walkers
  • cyclists
  • horse riders
  • people with mobility issues

Brighton & Hove City Council will be working with the Brighton & Hove Local Access Forum and partners to deliver the aims and objectives set out in the:

Rights of way maintenance responsibilities

Signposts and waymarking


  • sign right of way junction with metalled highway
  • discretionary powers for intermediary signage at junctions

Gates and stiles

Brighton & Hove City Council works to provide the least restrictive access possible, for example, replacing stiles with gaps or gates.


  • 25% of replacement costs and authorisation of all new structures

Land manager:

  • maintenance of all structures to allow free and safe passage of the public

Vegetation clearance


  • growth from surface to path

Land manager:

  • overhanging vegetation



  • maintenance of surface to standard consistent with status and use of right of way

Land manager:

  • some shared responsibility if also private access, for example, motor vehicles

The definitive map

This map shows all public rights of way in Brighton & Hove that fall into one of the following categories:

  • public footpaths are open only to walkers
  • public bridleways are open to walkers, horse riders and pedal cyclists
  • restricted byways are open to walkers, horse-riders, and drivers or riders of non-mechanically propelled vehicles, such as horse-drawn carriages and pedal cycles

Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) are open to all classes of traffic including motor vehicles, although they may not be maintained to the same standard as ordinary roads. In some cases, these byways may have Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) on them, restricting vehicular access.

Inclusion on the map is accepted in law as evidence of the existence of the right of way. Rights of way shown on other maps, such as Ordnance Survey maps, are based on the definitive map.

Only the paper copy has legal status.

An online version of the rights of way map is available. The information contained on the online map is regularly updated and maintained but may not be accurate. It does not constitute a definitive statement as to the status of any particular highway.

If you require a more detailed plan and accurate information:

To view the definitive map and statement of rights of way:

Definitive Map Modification Orders

Anyone has a right to apply for the definitive map to be corrected if they believe there to be an error on the map or information missing.

Contact us for an application form if you wish to make a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO).

View, print or download Brighton & Hove City Council's register of Definitive Map Modification Order Applications.

View copies of the applications for amendment currently registered with us.

Public Path Orders

There are no current Public Path Orders in process in the Brighton & Hove area.

If a public right of way is going to be affected by a development, it can be diverted or stopped by a Public Path Order under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

If there are no planning issues, but the landowner would like to move (divert) or delete (extinguish) a public footpath, bridleway, or restricted byway on their land they can apply to Brighton & Hove City Council for a public path diversion or extinguishment order under the Highways Act 1980.

The criteria to be met are strict and, due to the public consultation element, it's often quite a lengthy process.

If a public objection is received it can only proceed by referring it to the Planning Inspectorate. This may result in a public inquiry. Brighton & Hove City Council can also make Public Path Creation Orders and agreements. Most of these orders are funded by the applicants.

View copies of Modification Orders.

Public Path Diversion Orders

Under s119 of the Highways Act 1980, before making an order, the council needs to be satisfied that it's in the interests of the owner/occupier of the land and/or the public users of the path to be diverted.

The council also needs to be satisfied that the proposed route will not be substantially less convenient for the public to use than the existing route.

Other considerations include:

  • the effect of the diversion on public enjoyment of the route as a whole
  • on other land served by the existing route
  • on land where the new route is proposed
  • the needs for agriculture and forestry
  • the desirability of conserving nature

Public Path Diversion Orders

Under s257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, this power is used if the council is satisfied that a path should be diverted to allow for development to be carried out in accordance with planning permission.

However, planning permission alone does not automatically lead to a diversion order. The council must consider any disadvantages to users of the route because of the change

Public Path Extinguishment Orders

Under s118 of the Highways Act 1980, before making an order, the council needs to be satisfied that the path concerned is not needed for public use.

We need to consider:

  • what the likely use of the path would be if the order were not made
  • the effect of the change on the land the route currently crosses
  • the needs for agriculture and forestry
  • the desirability of conserving nature

Consideration can also be made of any concurrent creation orders/agreements or diversion orders, which may provide an alternative route.

Public Path Stopping Up Orders

Under s257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This power is used if the council is satisfied that a path should be stopped up to allow for development to be carried out in accordance with planning permission.

However, planning permission alone does not automatically lead to a stopping up order.  

The council must consider any disadvantages to users of the route because of the change.

Public Path Creation Orders

Under s26 of the Highways Act. Before making an order to create a new footpath, bridleway, or restricted byway the council must be satisfied:

  • that there's a need
  • it's expedient to do so regarding increased convenience or enjoyment for a substantial section of the public and residents

The effect on the rights of those people with an interest in the affected land must be taken into consideration.

Public Path Creation Agreements

Under s25 of the Highways Act 1980. This is where the council enters an agreement with a landowner for the dedication of a new footpath, bridleway, or restricted byway.

The council must receive proof of land ownership before an agreement can be entered into.

Protecting land from claims for Public Rights of Way - Section 31 (6) deposits

If a path is used by the public over an extended period, it can become a public right of way (see DMMOs, above).

If a landowner wants to prevent additional public rights of way being established on their land, they can deposit a map and statement with us, showing recognised public rights of way that they admit exist over their land and make a statutory declaration confirming that no new rights of way have been dedicated. This will need to be renewed every 20 years.

To make a deposit in respect of your land send an email to cityparks@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

Landowners may wish to install other measures, like signs, to challenge any unauthorised public access on their land.

Rights of way law is a complex area and landowners are advised to take their own independent legal advice on any issues that may affect their land.

The Section 31(6) deposits registered with Brighton & Hove City Council since 2010, under Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 are detailed on this register.

View, print or download the Brighton & Hove Section 31(6) Register.

Copies of statements and declarations

Below are copies of the statements and declarations registered with us:

Pelham Street

Download the highways deposit application form for Pelham Street.

Download the site location plan for Pelham Street.

Become a Volunteer Path Warden and Adopt-a-Path

The aim of our Adopt-a-Path scheme is to help increase people’s use and enjoyment of our public rights of way network. People who use the same paths regularly are encouraged to join the scheme. As a minimum, we encourage members to survey the route at least 4 times a year or once every season.

If you have a regular route you enjoy taking and want to help us look after it, register by sending an email to cityparks@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

What you can do for the scheme

To support the scheme, you can:

  • walk or ride the route regularly, at least 4 times a year
  • report any problems to the council on the rights of way report form
  • promote responsible use of the path

You can also help with cutting back vegetation from signs, stiles, and gates. We appreciate that not everyone will want to carry out this work, but there's an opportunity for those that do.

What we will do to help

To help you support the scheme, we will:

  • give a full induction on how to carry out the survey, health and safety information and survey forms
  • offer help and advice with rights of way questions
  • provide cover under our insurance policy whilst carrying out survey or basic maintenance
  • loan tools and gloves to do any clearance work

For more information read the Volunteer Path Warden leaflet (PDF 545KB).

Further information

National Highways Designated Funds projects - proposed Rights of Way and access improvements

Funding has been awarded to Brighton & Hove City Council by National Highways under their Designated Funds Scheme for feasibility studies on 3 projects:

  • Access for All  
  • Stanmer Bridleways  
  • Coldean Lane A270 (Lewes Rd) Junction  

These pages provide a summary of the 3 project proposals (being run alongside each other as they are linked).

The Feasibility Studies have been awarded to Jacob's consultancy. This is the first stage of stakeholder engagement and there will be further opportunities to feed into the process as the proposals develop.   

These routes and junctions are recognised in the Rights of Way Improvement Plan and the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan as key areas for access improvements.  

Access for All project 

Working in partnership with the National Trust and the South Downs National Park, the Access for All project led by Brighton & Hove City Council proposes to improve access for non-motorised users from Brighton & Hove to the South Downs.

The A27 dual carriageway divides the urban communities of Brighton & Hove from the green space of the Downs. The scheme would deliver:

  • 2.5km of new access routes
  • 9.8km of upgraded paths
  • improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at 3 A27 junctions, linking up to the South Downs Way to create a new super network for recreation and access
Map showing locations for the Access to All project


Costs for the Access for All Project

£70k has been awarded for the feasibility study by National Highways.

It's estimated that the total build of the project will be around £2.9 million. This includes assessing the potential for improvements to the A27 junctions at Ditchling Road/Coldean Lane and Carden Avenue for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Ditchling Road South multi-user path has already been upgraded to a solid surface by Brighton & Hove City Council.  

Stanmer Bridleways project

Stanmer Park is an 18th Century designed landscaped park and estate of 485 hectares.

It's a grade II listed park and recorded as ‘At Risk’ by Historic England. It comprises a park, woodland, and farmland with many public amenities to the north of Brighton. It comprises approximately a third of the total area of parks in the city of around 290,000 people.

It's a major gateway and sits within the South Downs National Park. It's a well-used recreation site with around 500,000 visitors a year, predicted to rise to 750,000 in the next 2 to 3 years.

It has received extensive renovation through a National Lottery grant and is now more of an attraction than ever to local, regional, and international visitors. It's also a route from the city to:

  • Falmer
  • the Universities
  • Coldean
  • Ditchling Beacon

In 2016 the Stanmer Park Conservation Plan stated 2 objectives:

  • improved accessibility
  • restoration of existing pathways used by pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians

The project will provide a grant towards the improvement of:

  • bridleways
  • shared use woodland trails
  • accessible woodland trails

These routes cover 11.5km of direct access to all parts of the estate and to the South Downs beyond. This includes 7.6km of surfaced bridleway together with 2.8km of improved slip-resistant surface on vehicular access routes/bridleways plus 1.1km of new trails.

The project would join with the Access for All project, encouraging active travel to Stanmer and beyond. There's great potential to create an accessible network across the area connecting with:

  • the South Downs Way
  • Sustrans national cycle routes, routes 2, 82, 20 and 90 are in the area
  • the surrounding path network

This map shows the Stanmer Project areas in red and the Access for All project in blue. 

Map showing locations for the Stanmer Bridleway project

Notes on map

NH Scheme 6 = Dyke Rd / A27 Junction  

NH Scheme 8 & 9 = A27 junctions at Carden Avenue & Coldean Lane / Ditchling Rd – Old Boat Corner  

NH Scheme 7 = Mill Lane crossings – not included within the remit of these projects  

Brighton & Hove City Council Scheme 1 = Improvements to Coldean Lane Crossings through S106 / developer contributions (outside of these projects)  

Brighton & Hove City Council Scheme 2 = National Highways related project – Coldean Lane A270 (Lewes Rd) junction improvements   

Costs for the Stanmer Bridleways project

£80,000 of funding has been received for the Feasibility Study. Projected costs for implementation are approximately £1.8 million.

Coldean Lane A270 (Lewes Rd) Junction

The extensive path network in Stanmer is cut off from the city by the barrier of the A27 trunk route which dissects the historic parkland. It interrupts cycling and pedestrian access from adjacent communities into their local park and restricts those coming from further afield.

To redress this, the Coldean Lane A270 (Lewes Road) pedestrian and cyclist crossing facilities need upgrading.  

The Coldean Lane A270 junction is an area with much scope for improvement. It links the extensive cycle network in Brighton running alongside Lewes Road and the cycle network running on and into Lewes approximately 7km away and southwards to Woodingdean.

This junction is important as an access point into Stanmer and the Downs via the Coldean Woods and footbridge over the A27 or to cross Coldean Lane and enter the park via Stony Mere Way. From this junction, the cycleway becomes a shared path with the footway into and alongside Stanmer.   

This junction can be used for leisure visits to Stanmer and the South Downs or commuting for students and workers to the universities.

The scheme would provide upgraded and safer crossing facilities for users at the Coldean Lane A270 crossing, plus upgraded access to 5.6km of existing cycle routes (NCN 90 and 20).

In the LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan), the junction is on identified strategic links to Stanmer Park and surrounding areas: Lewes Road (Priority Strategic Route 3) and Coldean Lane (Strategic Route 32).  

Costs for the Coldean Lane A270 (Lewes Rd) Junction project

£75,000 of Feasibility Study Funds have been awarded.

The budget for construction is expected to be £535,000.

Costs will be subject to the development of the design.

Contact us about a Designated Fund project

To provide initial feedback on these projects or for any queries, send an email to Cityparks@brighton-hove.gov.uk with the subject title: Designated Funds Projects.