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Cardiff Council

Maintenance of Paths

​Public rights of way usually go over land in private ownership. However, the council, as highway authority, is responsible for maintaining the surface of the right of way. The Burgess v Northwich Local Board (1880) states that “the duty of the highway surveyors is to keep the road as dedicated to the public in such a state as to be safe and fit for ordinary traffic”. 

The council, landowners and users of the public rights of way all have responsibilities which contribute to keeping routes safe and accessible at all times. 

Signposting and waymarking 

Cardiff Council has a duty to signpost public rights of way where they leave a metalled road. Rights of way are also signposted or waymarked particularly where the route is not obvious.

Stiles and gates

It is the landowner's responsibility to maintain stiles or gates on public rights of way on their land. Cardiff Council usually contributes a minimum of 25% of costs. Under the Rights of Way Improvement Plan, the Council can cover all costs to improve access for all (i.e. replace stiles for gates). 


The Highway Authority will undertake an investigation and has the power to take legal action against anyone found to be intentionally obstructing a right of way.

Ploughing and cropping

Crossfield paths may be ploughed or cropped as long as the path is reinstated within 14 days. Headland paths should not be ploughed or cropped.

Overgrown vegetation

Landowners are responsible for cutting back hedges, trees or shrubs overhanging a public right of way. Surface vegetation and up growth on rights of way, such as nettles or brambles, are the responsibility of Cardiff Council.


A bull can only be kept in a field crossed by a right of way if it is under 10 months old OR it is accompanied by cows or heifers.


Cardiff Council is responsible for the maintenance and repair of foot and bridle bridges.


Cardiff Council is responsible for the maintenance of the surface of rights of way according to the status of the path; for example a footpath will be maintained up to footpath standard even if it may also be used by private vehicles.


Cardiff Council will maintain routes for Equestrian use and the Highway Authority has no requirement to facilitate cycling on bridleways. 

© 2022 Cardiff Council