Definitive map and statement

The definitive map and statement form the legal record of all the public rights of way in Calderdale that we currently know about. Each right of way is classified as a footpath, bridleway, byway open to all traffic or restricted byway and these are described below. For each path, the route is indicated by a line on the map and the notation used indicates its classification.

The statement also describes the path’s route and type, with some other details. By law, the map and statement provide conclusive proof of the existence of every path they show so that you know you are entitled to use any of them.

Viewing the definitive map and statement

The map and statement are available to view between 9am and 5pm at Halifax Customer First , 19 Horton Street, Halifax, HX1 1QE.

Public rights of way are also shown on the Calderdale Maps Online service. However, this should not be relied upon for legal purposes.

Classifications

Footpath:

a right of way for the public on foot only.

Bridleway:

a right of way for the public on foot, riding or leading a horse or on a bicycle.

Restricted byway:

a right of way for the public on foot, riding or leading a horse and with any non-motorised vehicle such as a bicycle or horse-drawn vehicle.

Byway open to all traffic:

a public right of way for all users, but one that is mostly used like a bridleway.

On any of these public rights of way, there may also be a private right of way. For example, for landowners to drive to their properties.

Correcting the definitive map and statement

It is possible that in the past some paths have been shown on the wrong route or with the wrong classification, included by mistake or omitted altogether. If you think the map or statement are wrong, there is a legal procedure for changing or modifying them. This allows path users and landowners to be kept informed of the reasons for the change and to comment on it.

These comments should be based on evidence about what rights of way actually exist and this may consist of historical records documenting the creation of a path or showing how a path has been treated in official records in the past.  Alternatively the evidence may consist of witnesses who have used a path for a period of time, usually twenty years, in such a way that the landowner must have meant to dedicate it for public use.

For more information on the type of evidence that may be considered, visit: Definitive map orders: consistency guidelines .

Natural England have provided information about the process of changing the definitive map in the following file:

If you wish to apply for an order to amend the definitive map and statement, Contact Highways to request an application pack. If your evidence consists of witnesses who have used the path for a period of time, you will also need to give each of them a user evidence form to fill in.

The definitive map procedures are complex and often require explanation. We can offer informal help and guidance on the legal processes and on how evidence, both for and against an application, may be presented.

The Council's role is primarily that of deciding, on an impartial basis, whether the definitive map and the accompanying statement are correct, or whether they should be amended. It must make decisions on the basis of evidence about the history, or past use of routes, not on whether the propose changes are perceived as a good or desirable thing.