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About public rights of way

Within the borough, there are approximately 100km (62 miles) of public rights of way, together with many other paths that are open to the public.

The Public Rights of Way Officer is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all public rights of way are accurately signed, well maintained and correctly defined legally
  • Maintaining and updating all legal records relating to public rights of way
  • Developing and promoting recreational access opportunities within South Tyneside and beyond

In addition to the public rights of way, a network of other routes, which links places of interests to population centres, has been created and is continually being improved. Examples include the Linnet Way, which links the River Don to the coast at Marsden, the Miller's Trail and Bede's Way.

What are public rights of way?

Public rights of way are highways and provide rights to the public to pass and repass. They have different rights according to their status.

Types of public rights of way

A footpath is a highway on which the public have a right of way on foot only.

On a bridleway the public have a right of way on foot, on horseback, leading a horse, and on a pedal cycle. Cyclists must give way to riders and pedestrians.

Responsible horse riding is vital to the rider as well as other users, so everyone can enjoy the public rights of way and the countryside.

On a bridleway the public has a right of way on foot, on horseback, leading a horse, and on a pedal cycle. Cyclists must give way to riders and pedestrians.

Byways Open to all Traffic (BOATs) are often called byways and as the name suggests, these routes are for walkers, horse riders, cyclists and vehicles - including horse-drawn carriages, motorcycles and other motor vehicles.

What are allowed on public rights of way?

Prams, wheelchairs, and dogs are considered to be 'usual accompaniments' on all public rights of way. The law does not state that dogs must be on a lead, you should ensure your dog is under close control at all times, especially where there is livestock.

Footways and pavements

A footway is a path set out beside a road for pedestrian and are maintained by our Highways team. The footway may not be used by either cyclists or horse riders unless a part of it has been specially set out for their use - in which case, it will be signed and may be surfaced with a different coloured tarmac.

If you need to report a problem on a footway or pavement please contact Highways on or 0191 4277000.

Illegal use of motorcycles

Motorcycles and quad bikes are not allowed on public footpath and bridleways, or on any other countryside site or public open space. Illegal use of motorcycles is both a nuisance and a danger to other users.

The Council and the Police are working together to tackle illegal motorcycles across the Borough and try to prevent it from occurring. Any incidents involving motorcycles should be reported both to the Council and the Police.

Did you know?

The information on definitive maps is used by the Ordnance Survey (OS) to show public rights of way on their maps, although they also show non-definitive paths as well. Because definitive maps are continually updated, your OS map may not show recent changes such as a footpath that has been diverted.

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