Ploughed and cropped paths

The ploughing, cultivation and cropping of paths presents users with different difficulties. Paths may be deep ploughed at certain times of the year or have standing crops which make the path difficult to use.


Our current approach to the cultivation of Public Rights of Way may be found in the document in the more information section on this page. 

We take a pro-active approach to ensuring that paths are reinstated in accordance with the statutory requirements. A Guide to Ploughing and Cropping for landowners can be found in the more information section on this page.

Ploughing and cultivation

You must not plough or disturb the surface of:

  • cross-field footpaths and bridleways that you can conveniently avoid
  • footpaths or bridleways at the edge of the field
  • byways open to all traffic or restricted byways.

You may plough or disturb the surface of a footpath or bridleway that crosses a field if it is not convenient to avoid it when sowing or cultivating a crop. But you must then make sure that:

  • the surface is made good, to at least the minimum width, so that it is reasonably convenient to use
  • the line is clearly visible on the ground, to at least the minimum width, to anyone using it.

This must be done within:

  • 14 days of the first disturbance for that crop
  • 24 hours of any second or subsequent disturbance, unless a longer period has first been agreed, in writing, by us.

There may be circumstance where it is necessary to disturb the surface of a footpath or bridleway. For example; during an excavation or engineering operation, but only if you first get written permission from us.

Crops

You must not allow crops, other than grass, to grow on or overhang the minimum width of any footpath, bridleway or byway, so as to in-convenience the public or prevent the line of the right of way from being clear.

Minimum/maximum widths

If the width of a path is recorded in the definitive statement, then that is the minimum width. If the width is not recorded then the following applies:

  • Public footpaths - 1 metre across the field, 1.5 metres on the field edge (1.8 metres maximum).
  • Public bridleways - 2 metres across the field, 3 metres on the field edge (3 metres maximum).
  • Byways open to all traffic or restricted byways - 3 metres across the field, 3 metres on the field edge (5 metres maximum).

These widths apply only to the law in respect of the ploughing and cultivation of Public Rights of Way.

What will you do?

We will take action against you if you fail to comply with the law. We can:

  • prosecute you and/or
  • enter onto your land, carry out the works we think are necessary (sometimes to a wider 'maximum width') and recover the costs from you.

Any person can bring a prosecution against you if you fail to keep a footpath, bridleway or other Right of Way clear of crops.

Advice

If you need more advice or assistance about paths across your land, please Call Derbyshire on 08 456 058 058 to get in touch with your local Rights of Way Inspector. More answers on our enforcement practices may be read on our enforcement page.

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)