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Council Services:

Maintenance and enforcement

Countryside staff carry out maintenance and enforcement on the public rights of way Lincolnshire County Council is responsible for managing.

Who looks after Public Rights of Way?

Many public rights of way run across privately owned land and the responsibility for looking after rights of way is shared between the County Council and the landowner or farmer.

The County Council is responsible for:

Image of gate

  • Signposting rights of way where they leave the road.
  • Waymarking paths along their route where necessary.
  • Keeping rights of way in reasonable repair and clearing surface vegetation.
  • Ensuring that they are free from obstructions.
  • Ensuring that farmers and landowners reinstate rights of way after ploughing or cropping.
  • Helping farmers and landowners to maintain stiles and gates in good condition.
  • Maintaining the Definitive Map and Statement, which is the legal record of public rights of way.
  • Consideration of applications for the legal diversion of public rights of way.

Landowners and farmers are responsible for:

  • Keeping all paths free from obstruction.
  • Cutting back overhanging vegetation.
  • Reinstatement of paths after ploughing and keeping them clear of growing crops.
  • Maintaining gates and stiles.
  • Not ploughing paths that run along a field edge.

Public Rights of Way structures


Where a Public Footpath is located in a field containing livestock, a stile is a common method used to help you cross a fence or wall, although they can sometimes be found in other locations.

Stiles are the responsibility of the landowner and can only be erected with the permission of the Highway Authority. They should only be found on public footpaths, ie where access is limited to walkers.

Stiles should be easy to use, firmly fixed and be in good condition. If they are not, please let us know by completing the report a problem form.


Public right of way structures

Bridges must be suitable for the type of use, eg on a Public Bridleway they must be wide enough and strong enough for both walkers and horse riders to cross safely. They must be safe to use and in good condition.

If you encounter any bridges that do not appear safe, or reasonably easy to use, please let us know by completing the report a problem form.

Bridges in Lincolnshire can range from small wooden footbridges made from old railway sleepers, generally between 1.2 and 1.5 metres in width, to larger constructions made of steel and concrete, possibly crossing major water-courses.

The more robust bridges can tend to be on higher status routes, ie BOATs, requiring a capability to carry vehicular traffic.


In appropriate circumstances, the Highway Authority may permit the installation of a suitable gate but, as with stiles, they remain the responsibility of the landowner.

Many stiles on the County’s public footpaths are now being replaced by gates in order to provide easier access for those people with restricted mobility.

You will find different types of gate when you are out and about on the rights of way network. Main examples include:

  • field gate.
  • kissing gate.
  • bridle gate, which can be opened and closed from horse-back.

Whatever type of gate you encounter, it should always be free of any obstructions so that it can be opened and shut with ease.  If not please let us know by completing the report a problem form.


Report a problem

Please report any problems by emailing or by telephone: 01522 782070

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Last updated: 29 November 2017

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