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Walking and public rights of way

Rights of way - information and advice

The Rights of Way which make up the local access network can be found in towns, villages and the countryside. Some paths may be surfaced and many are tracks across countryside owned by farmers and landowners.

Types of rights of way

Public footpaths

A footpath is a highway on which the public has a right of way on foot. Often footpaths will cross fields containing livestock or crops, they may be muddy, and generally 'rural' in feel.  Public footpaths are not to be confused with highway footways, which are pavements to the side of the road

Public bridleways

The right of way is on foot, horseback or leading a horse and on pedal cycle. Cyclists were granted the right to use bridleways in 1968, however cyclists must give way to pedestrians and horse riders.

Permissive paths

The route is by permission of the landowner. Permission is usually for use on foot but if cycles, horses or vehicles are allowed this will be indicated on the route.  This permission can be removed at any time with reasonable notice.

Cycle tracks

The right of way is on a cycle and/or on foot. The Cycle Tracks Act 1984 enabled the conversion of footpaths to cycle tracks.


The right of way is on foot, with a permissive right for cycles. These paths can be recognised by the physical separation shown on the ground by either a single white line or by different colours of surface.

General enquiry

To make a general enquiry, please contact the rights of way officer via email to rightsofway@middlesbrough.gov.uk


For emergencies such as serious crimes or accidents always call 999.

If you have an issue requiring immediate action on a public right of way please contact Middlesbrough Council on 01642 726001 (during office hours).

For non-urgent minor crimes / incidents, call 01642 326326.