Understand terms used



Distances are normally shown on the routes in yards and miles e.g. 250yds = 250 yards and 2M = 2 miles.  Those more familiar with metric measurements can convert as follows: 1 yard is approx. 1 metre (0.91m to be more precise) and 1 mile = 1.6 kilometres


Rights of way, footpaths, bridleways and byways

A right of way is a public right to travel on a set route.  It may be over privately owned land but the public still have the right to use it the route at all times.

The modes of transport by which you are allowed to travel over the route vary depending on the type of right of way

  • on a footpath you have the right to travel on foot
  • on a permissive footpath you can travel on foot because the landowner has given permission – it is not a permanent right
  • on a bridleway you may travel on foot, on horse, leading a horse or on a bicycle, but those on bicylces must give way to other users
  • on a restricted byway you have the right to travel by any means apart from using mechanically propelled vehicles
  • byways open to all traffic may, just as the name suggests, be used by any type of traffic

What is

  • a waymark is a sign placed on a route to help people follow it
  • a culvert is a structure built to allow water to flow under a route


Landowners and occupiers are generally responsible for stiles and gates, dealing with overhanging vegetation and any repairs or restoration needed to rights of way due to use of farm vehicles or growing of crops.

Highway authorities (e.g. East Sussex County Council) are responsible for the signposts and waymarks, surfaces of rights of way, steps and handrails and most bridges, stepping stones and culverts.

There are a few paths which are completely maintained by private owners.

The Institute of Public Rights of Way has more details

Report a problem with a right of way (footpath, bridleway or byeway) to East Sussex here