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Rights of Way Maintenance and Enforcement

Making sure our network is fit for use and taking steps when problems occur.

All Public Rights of Way (PROW) in West Berkshire are public highways, and are legally protected in the same way as our roads. 

They are the Icon for pdf overall responsibility of West Berkshire Council [147KB] (as the local Highway Authority), which means that our role includes dealing with obstructions, repairing surfaces, signposting, and ensuring any structures (eg stiles and gates) are safe and convenient to use.


Rights of way are generally maintained to a standard that fits their location and how they're used. This means that there will be differences in the standards of maintenance and the conditions between an urban and rural PROW:

  • generally, an urban PROW should be well-maintained and suitable for children, elderly people, prams and wheelchairs
  • a rural PROW must be safe and unobstructed, but users should expect to need clothing and footwear suitable for uneven, wet or muddy conditions, particularly in winter
  • PROW that are used for access to private land and property have a Icon for pdf separate policy [46KB] that explains how we approach repair and maintenance

We also have the following information sheets available to view:

For information about trees and Ash Dieback, please see our Tree Guides page.


It is illegal to obstruct a public right of way, for example, by:

  • fencing or locking a gate across it
  • installing unauthorized structures
  • reducing its width
  • dumping rubbish
  • interfering with its surface

Reporting Problems or Concerns 

If you encounter a problem with a PROW, please report it to us online. The way we assess and prioritise complaints is outlined in our Icon for pdf enforcement matrix [27KB] . The timescales we aim to work to in resolving problems are set out in our Icon for pdf Public Rights of Way Enforcement Procedure [103KB] .

In the meantime, it's permitted to deviate from the line of the PROW in order to "get round" an obstacle, provided that no damage is caused by doing so.

We have a policy for the management of Icon for pdf damage to West Berkshire's PROW by vehicular use [94KB] that you may find useful to read.

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