- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 06 Jun 2018
In England and Wales, a statutory bridleway (or bridle path) is a route over which the public has a right of way on horseback, leading a horse, on foot, or since 1968, on pedal cycle. In addition, there may be a right to drive animals along a bridleway, and some bridleways also have private access rights permitting use by right holders for motorised vehicles. People using a pedal cycle on a bridleway must give way to users on foot or on horseback.
As the use of horses declined, and motorised vehicles became more common during the 20th century, many bridleways became roads, and when the 1949 National Parks and Countryside Act required that public rights of way were recorded, many were recorded as roads, or as footpaths. However, it is estimated that the number of people riding horses each week in Britain has gone up from 100,000 in 1967 to 3.5 million in 1995, and so the demand for bridleways has increased. (Ref. London Borough of Hillingdon, Bridleways strategy.)
Statutory bridleways are rights of way and must not be obstructed or moved. They are recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement, maintained by each local highway authority and form part of the local authority’s highway network. Permission may be sought to have them varied or removed by application to the local authority.
Landholders are responsible for ensuring statutory bridleways remain free from obstructions, and for ensuring there are suitable gates. The local highway authority is generally responsible for the surface, and for markings. There is no obligation to facilitate the use of bridleways by cyclists.
A permissive bridleways is not a statutory right of way, but is a way which the landowner permits the public to use for specified purposes. Permissive bridleways may be closed intermittently to prevent them becoming a right of way.
NB: There is no legal distinction between footpaths and bridleways in Scotland.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
- National trail.
- Restrictive covenants.
- Right of support.
- Right of way.
- Right to light.
- Site of Special Scientific Interest.
- Tree preservation order.
- Tree rights.
 External references
Featured articles and news
Which room is the most fun to design? Find out the 'Grand Designs' presenter's unusual choice in our interview.
Full suite of speakers are announced for this year's BSRIA Briefing event.
Book your place for the Architectural Technology Awards 2018.
There are many ways of classifying types of building. Have a look at our range of building articles.
BSRIA have launched the 'major update' of the go-to design framework guide for building services.
How to get results with building life cycle assessment.
Government publishes a prospectus inviting proposals for new 'garden communities'.
The Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa collapses during rainstorm while undergoing maintenance works.
'Developed design' is a phrase coined by the RIBA for their 2013 Plan of Work. But what does it actually mean?
New green paper published aiming to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents and tackle stigma.
RIBA calls for a comprehensive ban on combustible materials.