A footpath is a public highway and as such is maintainable at public expense. Paths cannot be blocked up or in any way obstructed by the landowner and where trees are growing over the path the landowner must keep them trimmed. The maintenance of the path surface however is the responsibility of the highway authority which in this parish is Devon County Council. The parish council have entered into an agreement with the County council under a scheme known as P3 to carry out the maintenance on behalf of the County.
The footpaths are walked every year by the parish councillors and any problems are reported to the P3 representatives who then arrange for maintenance work to be undertaken.
A number of our footpaths do become rather overgrown especially during the summer period so this year we have arranged for them to be strimmed in May and September. This will become an annual arrangement with the contractor.
Footpath 6 which links Buckland Monachorum village to the Garden House and in daily use is becoming difficult to use because of spring water running down the path and cows from the field walking on the wet path. Agreement is being sought from the landowner to fence the footpath and divert the spring water and hopefully the improvement work which is being paid for under the P3 scheme will be completed this year.
If you find a footpath that is impassable or in any way obstructed please contact the clerk who will pass on the information to the P3 reps.
However before you do please note the following:
- Footpaths and bridle ways crossing fields can be ploughed if it is unavoidable but a minimum width of 1 metre (2m for bridleways) must be made available within 14 days and the line of the path should be clearly marked. A footpath or bridleway on the edge of a field should not be ploughed.
- Crops are not allowed to grow on a right of way except grass being grown for silage or hay.
- The landowner is responsible for ensuring hedges or trees do not overgrow onto a right of way causing an obstruction.
- A dairy bull is not allowed in a field crossed by a right of way, whilst a beef bull is allowed but must be accompanied by cows or heifers.
- Any electric fence across a footpath must have an insulating handle to allow you to pass safely. Electric fences are not allowed to cross bridle ways.
- All footpaths within the Dartmoor National Park are the responsibility of the park authority and are not maintained under the P3 scheme or Devon County Council.