About Public Rights of Way

We are responsible for managing over 480km of public rights of way within the Borough.

These are Public Rights of Way (PROW) as recorded on the Definitive Map and Statements, as opposed to an adopted pavement or road, over which the public have the right to pass.

What are Public Rights of Way (PROW)?

All PROW are highways and the same status in law as public roads. PROW include:

  • Footpath - for use on foot only
  • Bridleway - for use on foot, horse and cycle
  • Restricted Byway - for use on foot, horse, cycle, horse drawn vehicle or non-mechanically propelled vehicle
  • Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) - for use on foot, horse, cycle, horse drawn vehicle, motorised and non-motorised vehicles.

Map and Health Walk Leaflets

Health Walks

We have produced a series of leaflets with short walks that can be undertaken by most people without much difficulty, and will reward you with views of our attractive countryside and many interesting local landmarks.

Ordnance Survey map references:

  • Ordnance Survey Map No 276 – Bolton, Wigan & Warrington
  • Ordnance Survey Map No 285 – Southport & Chorley (covering Wigan, Formby & Ormskirk).

Other rights of way

There are other 'permissive' ways in the borough which can still be used by the public.

  • Towpaths - paths running alongside canals (Canal & River Trust has responsibility)
  • Leisure paths - paths within leisure areas such as parks, country parks and recreation areas (Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust has responsibility)
  • Greenways - these are proposed linear walks, usually along railway lines, (Wigan Council has responsibility).

What can I do on a public right of way?

  • Take a pram, pushchair or wheelchair - but expect to encounter stiles on footpaths. Please also wear suitable footwear as footpath surfaces vary greatly
  • Take a dog under close control, preferably on a lead
  • Make a small deviation to avoid an illegal obstruction, but only do so if you are certain that your route is safe and available. If in doubt please try to find an alternative public right of way and report the obstruction to us
  • Remove an obstruction sufficiently to get passed.

Council responsibility

We have a legal duty to ensure that public rights of way recorded on the definitive map and statements are legally accessible and maintained to the standard that they are intended.

A public right of way may have a surface of grass, dirt, stone or tarmac and we are only obliged to maintain it to that standard. Priorities for maintenance are based on previous complaints and frequency of use; the more people that use a particular path, the greater the benefit to the public of maintaining it.

© Wigan Council