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Draft Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) 2023-2033

Have your say

Consultation status Closed
Start date: 2023-08-31
End date: 2023-11-23
Results 2024-06-30
Category: Roads, Transport and Parking, Leisure, Parks and Countryside, Your West Berkshire

Activity closed.

Public footway sign and path


A public right of way (PROW) is a path over which people may walk, ride a horse, cycle or drive a vehicle, depending on its type. As part of the highway, a PROW is protected by law. You can use:

  • public footpaths - a public right of way only for pedestrians (including dog walkers, users of wheelchairs, mobility scooters and people with buggies)
  • public bridleways - as per public footpaths, and in addition can be used by horse riders and cyclists
  • restricted byways - as per public footpaths and bridleways, and in addition can be used by horse-drawn carriage drivers
  • byways open to all traffic (BOATs) - a public right of way for all users, including motor vehicles

West Berkshire Council is responsible for around 1,190 kilometres (740 miles) of public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways. Most of these (61%) are public footpaths. Around 18% are bridleways and 21% are restricted byways and BOATs. These all create a network that is an important asset for West Berkshire and provides many public benefits. They enable people to access and enjoy the outstanding countryside and natural areas of the district, as well as being important to health, mental wellbeing, travel and the economy. West Berkshire Council wants public rights of way to be available for everyone, regardless of where they live.

Under the requirements of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, as a local authority who is responsible for PROW, we have a duty to publish a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) that explains our goals and priorities, and which we have to review every ten years. Icon for pdf Our current ROWIP [266KB]  was adopted on the 27 May 2010.

How we developed our draft ROWIP

In developing Icon for pdf our draft ROWIP [11MB] , we've carried out extensive engagement with:

  • the public, parish and town councils, and landowners in summer 2021 
  • 66 stakeholder organisations, including neighbouring highway authorities, user and interest groups and community organisations
  • the Mid and West Berkshire Local Access Forum

A wide range of other evidence was reviewed, including demographic and population statistics of West Berkshire, health and wellbeing needs and the needs of PROW users. Analysis of the public rights of way network and its condition was also carried out.

You can view the two evidence documents below:

You can view the accompanying Icon for pdf Equality Impact Assessment here [172KB] .

We've drawn all this information together and are proposing that we focus our resources on the following four themes, under which sit priorities and actions to help us maintain and improve PROW in West Berkshire, now and in the future:

  • looking after the network
  • an evolving network
  • health and prosperous communities
  • effective delivery

Icon for pdf The draft ROWIP contains a summary of an assessment of our public rights of way, an evidence review, and our statement of action [11MB]

Why we want your views

We'd like your views on our draft ROWIP, specifically our proposed themes, priorities and actions, but also if you think there is anything we've missed.

How to take part

If you'd like to comment on Icon for pdf our draft ROWIP [11MB] , please complete our survey by 5pm on Thursday, 23 November 2023. It should take about 10 minutes.


If you have any questions about the survey, please email

For general enquiries about public rights of way, please visit our dedicated webpage

What happens next

All the feedback we receive will be used to shape the final ROWIP and a detailed action plan, which will be considered by elected members by spring 2024.

Following this, the final strategy will be published on our Strategies, Policies and Plans webpage and on our ROWIP page.

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