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Applications for definitive map and statement modification orders

Public paths shown on the definitive map are those that we know about and are therefore recorded.

However, you may have evidence that:

  • there may be a path that is not shown that you and others have been using as a public right of way for years and may wish to have recorded
  • a path shown with a particular description should be shown as a highway of a different description, for example where a footpath has been used for many years by horseriders and you wish to apply to have it recorded as a bridleway
  • there is no public right of way over land shown in the map and statement of any description, or it is in the wrong place
  • any other particulars in the map and statement require modification

Anyone may apply to the county council to modify the definitive map and statement of rights of way and we have a legal duty to investigate their claims, examine the evidence and, in the light of the evidence, decide whether or not the claimed rights exist. The evidence may be in the form of historical documents or modern usage or both.

Please note that this procedure is not used:

  • where you think it would be a good idea to have a public path in a particular place
  • if you think that the path is not suitable for its current classification and should be changed
  • if you think that the path is not needed for public use

These are not matters that can be taken into account under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (opens in a new window).

We are also required by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (opens in a new window) to keep the map and statement under continuous review and to modify them if there is evidence that they are incorrect.

Preliminary stages you need to carry out if you wish to make a claim:

Please note that Dorset County Council is not responsible for public rights of way in Bournemouth or Poole. If your application relates to a public right of way in this area please contact the relevant Borough council.

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