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A public right of way is a path which can be used for leisure and recreation by anybody at any time.

Portsmouth City Council holds the legal record of all the public rights of way in the city, which is known as the definitive map. These maps and lists of rights of way are available to download below, along with the council's rights of way improvement plan.

For more information on Portsmouth public rights of way, email rightsofway@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or contact road safety and active travel at Portsmouth City Council's civic offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2NE.

Hampshire Countryside Access Forum (see below) and Gov.uk have more information on public rights of way.

Each path is classified according to who is allowed to use it. The classifications are:

  • footpath (pedestrians only)
  • bridleway (pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders only)
  • restricted byway (no motor vehicles)
  • byway (open to all traffic)

Portsmouth rights of way are shown in a series of maps downloadable below. The image above shows the areas of Portsmouth covered by each map. 

As a user, your rights and responsibilities are to:

  • be able to use a right of way without obstruction or intimidation 
  • use a right of way with normal accompaniments, such as a dog or pram (but not on a bicycle on a footpath)
  • use the right of way with respect for other users and the owner of the land through which it passes 
  • keep any dog with you under control, on a lead if necessary, to prevent it from fouling the right of way and to stop it from running over any adjoining land
  • use the right of way for its designated purposes only.

Landowners' responsibilities to the rights of way on their land are to:

  • ensure rights of way are free from obstruction, such as overhanging foliage
  • ensure the surface is in a fit condition for its intended use
  • signpost and mark rights of way
  • provide and maintain stiles and gates
  • remove rubbish and litter as far as is practicable under the Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • progress applications to divert or nullify rights of way, if applicable, under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

A landowner can give the public the right to use a route over their land, that is, 'dedicating' the route as a public right of way. Legally a dedication must be for all the public, and for all time, but the landowner can determine who can use the route, for example pedestrians only, or pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. 

Sometimes routes are used as public rights of way over time. The presumption here is that, at some time in the past, the landowner either dedicated the way as public, but has lost the evidence of the dedication, or the landowner made no objection to the public using the route. To be legally acceptable, the public must have been openly using the route, without interruption, for a period of twenty years.

Landowners can deposit maps with the council showing any public rights of way on their land, together with a declaration to the effect that they do not intend to dedicate any other routes. Hampshire County Council has more information on this.

Register of applications - Portsmouth City Council keeps a register of applications that have been made to change the definitive map of public rights of way. This register means that landowners, users of rights of way and the general public can see applications that could result in changes to the definitive map.

In the table below is the list of applications made in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

 Status Area Description of route claimed Grid reference from/toNotice served 
Not found Map 1 Paulsgrove Portsdown Hill Road near Churchillian Pub to Skew Road 466135/462597 Nov 99
Found Map 9 Eastney Side of 57 Halliday Crescent to footpath at junction of Henderson Road 467409/467418 May 06
Found Map 9 Eastney Green are opposite 1 Driftwood Gardens to junction of footpath at Henderson Road 467409/467449 May 06
Not found Map 9 Eastney Rear of garages opposite flats 85-95 Halliday Crescent to the side of 10 Halliday Crescent 467382/467388 Sept 06
Found Map 4 Baffins Side of 157 Stanley Avenue to the dirt track at the rear of 157 Stanley Avenue 467015/467029 Nov 06

Not found

Appeal dismissed by Planning Inspectorate.

Map 8 Southsea Outer edge of The Camber Dock Old Portsmouth 462983/462989 Nov 14

Applications for Modification Order under Section 53(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The application(s) are currently being reviewed.

Map 8 Southsea From Trimmers Court at junction with East Street proceeding northwards with Quayside edge proceeding south along water edge to Bridge Tavern turning west along inner Camber basin edge to southern end of Trimmers Court. 462983/462989 Jul 16

The Hampshire Countryside Access Forum provides advice on management and maintenance policies for rights of way and access land. It principally advises Hampshire County Council, Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils, but also government bodies and user groups.

The forum meets quarterly. Members of the public are welcome to attend, submit a question or make a representation. For more information email sgs@hants.gov.uk

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