Access to the countryside

Information about public rights of way, maintenance of gates and stiles, and what is classed as a public commons or village green.

Right of way improvement plan

The Rights of Way Improvement Plan [PDF, 375Kb] is essentially a business plan setting out how to make the rights of way network in North Lincolnshire better.

In particular, a ROWIP must assess:

  • The extent to which local rights of way meet the present and future likely needs of the public
  • The opportunities provided by local rights of way for exercise and other forms of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area
  • The accessibility of local rights of way to blind or partially-sighted persons, and others with mobility problems.

The ROWIP includes the Assessment, and the Statement of Action.

The Assessment looks at eleven key areas in which rights of way might be improved.

The Statement of Action recommends action, estimates costs, and stipulates a completion date for each of these areas.

Public footpaths and bridleways in North Lincolnshire

North Lincolnshire boasts approximately 320 miles of public footpaths and bridleways that give walkers, horse riders, cyclists and off-road motorists access into the local countryside.

Public footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways are part of the overall highway network. We maintain and protect the use of these footpaths and bridleways.

Definitive Map

Public rights of way are recorded on the Definitive Map. You can see where public rights of way are located in North Lincolnshire by viewing the Definitive Map and the relevant Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMOs).

To view further information visit our related webpages such as how to apply to make a DMMO, the Local Access Forum and Current Notices relating to changes to the Definitive Map, Statutory Declarations, and Commons and Greens.

If you find a problem with a public right of way in North Lincolnshire, please tell us.


We have a works team who complete a wayclearance programme at least twice a year between late spring and early autumn. They are also responsible for waymarking the public rights of way so that users can be sure they are on the correct route. The surface of a way need only be at a standard suitable for the desired activity to be carried out, for example, walking or horse riding.

Gates, stiles, licensing

Stiles and gates will be permitted only where they are necessary. All stiles and gates must be in situ by permission of the council (under licence), or referred to in the definitive statement. If a stile or gate is there without authority, it will constitute an unlawful obstruction and their removal will be pursued by us. If a gate is required to prevent the ingress or egress of livestock, its provision and maintenance is the responsibility of the landowner or occupier.


If there is an unlawful obstruction along a right of way, we have the authority to serve notice for its removal. Members of the public also have a right to serve notice upon us to act upon an unlawful obstruction.

Enforcement can also be taken by us if a landowner fails to delineate crop. If work has to be carried out by us, we can recover the costs, and ultimately the matter can go to the Magistrates Court.

Twigmoor Woods feature a mixture of woodland and wetland habitats rich in wildlife. The site is managed as a joint venture between North Lincolnshire Council and the landowner, the Scawby Estate. Through this partnership, the Scawby Estate allows the public access to permissive paths that run through the site.

The woods are rich in many species of tree and wildflowers. The rhododendrons (some of which are very rare) were mainly planted between 1885 and 1900. They provide a stunning display but are extremely invasive and require extensive control.

Wildlife is plentiful – particularly birds. These include nuthatch, green and greater spotted woodpeckers, kestrels, owls, jays, and treecreepers.

Parts of Twigmoor are managed for commercial timber. Visitors are asked to stick to the indicated and waymarked paths both for safety and the protection of wildlife. In addition, if you see signs that forestry or conservation work is taking place on the visitor route, then for your safety please turn round rather than carry on.

Vehicles should only be parked in the official car park. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leads. Camping, swimming, cycling, and fires are not permitted.

Twigmoor Woods walking route [PDF, 567Kb]

As the Commons Registration Authority for North Lincolnshire, we are responsible for maintaining and updating the register of commons and greens for the area.

A register of Commons and Greens Location Index [PDF, 7Kb] is available to download.

What is a town or village green?

Greens are areas of land which local people can go on to for the exercise of lawful sports or pastimes. Typically these might include organised games, picnics, fetes, dog walking, nature watching, and similar activities.

To register a new village green, you must prove that;

  • The land is mainly used by ‘inhabitants of the locality’
  • It is used for ‘lawful sports or pastimes’
  • It has been used without the permission of the landowner, but without force or secrecy
  • That is has been used as such for at least 20 years
  • The application must be made using Form 44 [PDF, 50Kb] – you can also find this on the Defra website

Current applications

Current notices

What is common land?

Common land is usually in private ownership, that has rights of common over it.

There are generally six recognised rights of common:

  • Grazing sheep of cattle (herbage)
  • Taking peat or turf (turbary)
  • Taking wood, gorse or furze (estovers)
  • Taking of fish (piscary)
  • Eating of acorns or beechmast by pigs (pannage)
  • The right to take sand, gravel, stone and minerals (common in the soil)

Members of the public now have a right of access on foot to nearly all registered common land areas, but not those in private gardens. This access on foot is in addition to any public rights of way. More information is available from the Open Access website, administered by Natural England.

S31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 allows a landowner to deposit a map and statement showing any public rights of way over their land.

For the deposited map and statement to serve their purpose, a statutory declaration should afterwards be made, either affirming no (additional) public rights of way or greens have been dedicated, or otherwise describing what has been dedicated and where.

The landowner or his or her agent must continue to deposit further declarations at intervals not exceeding twenty years if the original deposit of map and statement is not to lapse.

You can download our Register of Statutory declarations [PDF, 844Kb]. (The PDF contains tables that are not accessible. If you require this document in a different format, please contact us)

Section 15 of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 inserts sections 15A and 15B into the 2006 Commons Act to introduce landowners declarations with respect to greens.

They bring to an end any period of recreational use ‘as of right’ over land, with respect to green dedications.
The declarations apply retrospectively, so apply to the previous 20 years.

A landowner may also make a combined declaration relating to public rights of way AND commons and greens.

Making a declaration

You will need to download and complete form CA16 [PDF, 106Kb] and return it to us.

We’ve included the  DEFRA guidance for completion of Form CA16 [PDF, 174Kb] to help you complete your form.

A fee of £255.00 is payable whenever an application is made to deposit a map and statement under section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 and/or section 15A(1) of the Commons Act 2006.

Notices will be placed on site by us, and we shall notify anyone who has indicated an interest in being kept informed of the lodging of statements.

If you would like to be notified when any declarations are lodged, please email us.


Public Rights of Way team


Customer Contact Centre

01724 297000