- The Definitive Map shows the location and status of public rights of way.
- The Definitive Statement gives descriptions of the public rights of way, including any limitations or conditions.
The DM&S is an historically important document that records public rights of way across Wigan.
It is looked after by the Public Rights of Way Group in the Environmental Services Department who manage it by:
- modifying it to take account of any changes
- keeping this and other associated documents available for public inspection
- investigating applications to change the DM&S
- processing legal orders to keep the DM&S up to date
What is 'The Definitive Map'?
It is actually many separate maps that show the routes of all the public footpaths and bridleways recorded throughout Wigan. These maps, together with the Definitive Statements for each route, are the legal record of the public's right of way along them. Most of these maps are at a scale of 1:10560 (i.e 6 inches = 1 mile or about 10cm = 1km).
The Definitive Map for Wigan has a new relevant date of 24 October 2008 and is conclusive evidence in law of the particulars it contains.
What is 'The Statement'?
The Definitive Statement for each right of way describes the route and any restrictions on its use. The Statements for most of Wigan’s paths are very brief! Those for new paths are more informative.
What does 'Definitive' mean?
The appearance of a path on the Definitive Map is conclusive proof of its existence in law. However the reverse is not true. The fact that a right of way is not recorded on the Map, along a particular route, is not evidence that there is no right of way along that route. Similarly, higher rights e.g bridleway rights, may exist along a route which is shown on the Definitive Map only as a public footpath.
Can I rely on Ordnance Survey maps to show rights of way accurately?
Britain's national mapping agency, the Ordnance Survey shows public rights of way on its published maps at 1:25,000 scale and at 1:50,000 scale.
The OS obtains all of its rights of way information from Definitive Maps supplied to it by local highway authorities such as this Council. Whenever a change is made by a highway authority e.g a footpath diversion or the upgrading of a footpath to a bridleway, the highway authority informs the OS which then ensures that the change is shown when the relevant Explorer or Landranger map is next revised.
Definitive Maps are, more often than not, printed at a scale of 1:10,560 or 1:10,000 so there is a slight reduction in the precision with which the exact line of a path can be shown when transferred to 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 mapping. Even so these maps are more than adequate for most purposes - navigation, study or planning your walk or ride. You should be aware that published OS mapping can never be completely up to date as change is ever present - as true for rights of way as it is for any other aspect of the landscape. However you can expect that much of the greater part of the path network will be accurately shown on the latest maps available in the shops.
Which Ordnance Survey maps cover Wigan Borough?
- Ordnance Survey Map No 276 – Bolton, Wigan & Warrington
- Ordnance Survey Map No 285 – Southport & Chorley (covering Wigan, Formby & Ormskirk)
When was the Map published?
Preparation of the Map started in the early 1950's, following the passing of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Initial surveys were carried out by town/parish councils and walking groups. A lengthy consultation process involving landowners and path users eventually led to the publication in 1966 by the former Lancashire County Council of the 13 Definitive Maps which now cover most of the existing borough of Wigan.
However, the former county boroughs were omitted from the survey at that time, therefore, there is currently no Definitive Map for the urban area of Wigan, as this area was within the former county borough of Wigan. All 13 Definitive Maps have recently been extensively updated and now have a new relevant date of 24 October 2008.
Where can I see the Definitive Map and Statements?
The working copy is available for public inspection at the address below.
Rights of Way can also be viewed on the following Public Rights of Way link. This is just a guide and not the actual Definitive Map.
No prior appointment is necessary but you are advised to contact the section beforehand to ensure that an officer will be available to assist with any queries you might have regarding the map.
- Abram (.pdf, 53Kb)
- Ashton (.pdf, 50Kb)
- Aspull (.pdf, 49Kb)
- Atherton (.pdf, 57Kb)
- Billinge (.pdf, 53Kb)
- Golborne (.pdf, 77Kb)
- Haigh (.pdf, 45Kb)
- Hindley (.pdf, 51Kb)
- Ince (.pdf, 48Kb)
- Leigh (.pdf, 105Kb)
- Orrell (.pdf, 49Kb)
- Shevington (.pdf, 44Kb)
- Standish (.pdf, 60Kb)
- Tyldesley (.pdf, 81Kb)
- Worthington (.pdf, 42Kb)
Please be aware that there may be anomalies between what is recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement and what appears on the ground. Many of the descriptions detailed in the Definitive Statement were made in 1953 and may not indicate legitimate stiles or gates placed along a particular route.
Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMO's)
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 anyone can apply to the Council to make a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) to change the Definitive Map and Statement if they believe that the Map is wrong. For example if evidence can be found to show that:
- A way that isn't shown on the Map but should be,
- A way that is shown on the Map that shouldn't be,
- A way that has the wrong status,
- A way that is on the wrong alignment.
Evidence is required to support the claim that a way already exists. This evidence can be in two forms; either historical or user evidence or a combination of the two. Historical evidence can be: old maps, Inclosure Awards, Tithe Plans and any other historical document relevant to the claim. User evidence must support the claim that the way has been used, in the belief that it was a public right of way for an uninterrupted period of twenty years.
A landowner can object to a claim and may be able to provide evidence that they had no intention of dedicating the way through: locking gates, putting notices up advising that the way is not public, telling people that they are on private land and that it's not a PROW. In addition a landowner can deposit with the Council notice that there is no intention to dedicate a public right of way, through a statutory declaration under Section 31 (6) of the Highways Act 1980.
For further information on DMMO applications then please download the Application Pack (.pdf, 80KB) or contact the Public Rights of Way Officer.
Through the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 Schedule 5, all surveying authorities are required to a keep a register of applications received under Section 53(5) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMO). The purpose of which is to help increase the knowledge of landowners, users of public rights of way and the general public about applications, which could result or have resulted in changes to the Definitive Map and/or Statement. Applications can be viewed from the DMMO Registers Link.