Definitive Map Modification Orders

The Definitive Map and Statement form the legal record of recorded Public Rights of Way. 

The appearance of a path on the Definitive Map is conclusive proof of its existence in law. However, the reverse is not true as the Definitive Map is a minimum record of Public Rights of Way. The fact that a right of way is not recorded on the Map, is not evidence that there is no right of way along that route – public rights may exist but have not been recorded.  Similarly, higher rights may exist along a route shown only as a Public Footpath or Public Bridleway, for example bridle rights over a Public Footpath.

The process

Members of the public may submit applications for changes to the Definitive Map where they have gathered either user or historical evidence, or both, which they believe supports a change. Applications involve completing a number of forms and serving notice on the landowners and can be rejected if not complete. A register of applications is held and applications are investigated according to a prioritisation system.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 dictates legal tests which must be met when the Council makes and confirms an order, specifically that the Public Right of Way is considered on the balance of probabilities to subsist.

As there are a number of steps in the process, some with set durations, it can take a long time for a case to be determined once investigation has been started. Also, there is no certainty that an application will result in a modification order being made to the Definitive Map and Statement, or, if an order is made, that it reflects the applicant’s original claim exactly. There are opportunities for people to object within the process on certain grounds.

The process for Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMOs), for which there is no charge, is summarised below:

  1. Applicant gathers user and/or historic evidence and notifies landowner of claim
  2. Application submitted and registered
  3. Application prioritised on waiting list for investigation
  4. Investigation
  5. Consultation
  6. Public Rights of Way Committee decision
  7. If approved, order is made and advertised
  8. Objection period
  9. Unopposed orders confirmed and advertised, opposed orders sent to Secretary of State for determination

Applications are prioritised according to a Statement of Priorities Policy 2011 (PDF, 58KB), for which an Equality Impact Assessment has been completed. You can view the register of Definitive Map Modification Order Applications online.

Every time a Public Right of Way is added, removed or changed on the Definitive Map, the Council notifies the Ordnance Survey so that the change can be shown on the next editions of digital and paper maps of the area, although this change may take a number of years to appear on maps in common use.

For further information on Definitive Map Modifications Orders, please contact a Definitive Map Officer in the Public Rights of Way team.  You can view online the agendas and minutes of the Public Rights of Way Committee.

Accessibility statement

To open PDF documents you will need to have adobe reader installed.

Because of the nature of public rights of way creation documents, it is not possible in all cases to make them fully accessible. Should you require assistance to access the data contained the PDF documents, please contact the Public Rights of Way team who will endeavour to provide assistance.