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 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).

A town or village green may be registered if it is shown that the inhabitants of a locality or a neighbourhood within a locality, have used an area ‘as of right’ for a period of at least 20 years for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes. The 2006 Act allows anyone to make an application to register a piece of land as a new town or village green. We have a duty to investigate all applications submitted.