The Definitive Map and Statement

Public rights of way are recorded on a legal record known as the Definitive Map and Statement (DM&S) of Public Rights of Way.

  • 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 restrictions on its use.

They are historically important documents that record public rights of way across Wigan.


  • Modifying it to take account of any changes
  • Keep the documents available for public inspection
  • Investigate applications to change them
  • Process legal orders to keep them up to date

Where can I see the Definitive Map and Statements?

The working copy is available for public inspection at the address below:

Wigan Council, Wigan Life Centre, College Avenue, Wigan, WN1 1NJ.

No prior appointment is necessary but you are advised to contact us beforehand to ensure that an officer will be available to assist with any queries you might have regarding the map.


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)

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Historical evidence can be old maps, inclosure awards, title plans and any other historical document relevant to the claim.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 public right of way.

In addition a landowner can give the council notice that there is no intention to dedicate a public right of way.

Landowner Statement

Changes in legislation now allows landowners to protect their land from being recorded as Town or Village Green, thus bringing to an end the public’s recreational use of land “as of right”.

Under Section 15A(1) of the Commons Act 2006 a landowner can deposit a map and statement using Form CA16 to record from that date forth any public use of that land in their ownership is with permission and not “as of right”.

On receipt of such an application, this triggers a one year period where during which time an application may be submitted to the Council for a village green.

If you wish to make an application for either or both S15A(1), please complete the Form CA16 and submit this with a plan to:

Legal Services, Wigan Council, Town Hall, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1YN

There may be a fee associated with the application.

Highway Statements and Declarations

Landowners can protect their land from additional public rights of way coming into existence through the public use for 20 years. Under Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 a landowner can submit a map and statement using Form CA16 to record from that date forth that any ways, which are not already recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement; cannot be claimed as a public right of way, unless they have been used for 20 years prior to the application date.

For further details on the procedures please refer to the Statutory Instrument 2013 No. 1774. Defra have also produced some guidance on completing the CA16 Form all of which can be downloaded.

If you wish to make an application for either or both S31(6) please complete the Form CA16 and submit this with a plan to:

Public Rights of Way, Wigan Council, PO Box 100, Wigan, WN1 3DS.

There may be a fee associated with the application.


All surveying authorities are required to a keep a register of applications for Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMO), Landowner Statements (S15A(1)) and Highway Statements and Declarations (S31(6)).

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