Campaigners are demanding public rights of way be better signposted so everyone can enjoy the countryside without fear of going off-piste!
The Countryside Act was passed in 1968, it requires local authorities signposts a public path, byway, or bridleway where it leaves a road. However as many of us know 50 years on and this is not the case for a large amount of routes.
Open Spaces Society’s state that signposts are important because they give people the confidence to use and enjoy public paths, which are public rights of way and highways in law. We are right there with you Opens Spaces society, we also feel that if public rights of way were clearly marked, not only could more people enjoy the countryside, but there would be less ‘Off-piste’ activity.
“Without a signpost, a path can be a well-kept secret.
“That is why we pressed for the inclusion of the signposting duty in the Countryside Act and why we are dismayed to find that there are still many missing signposts.”
The society and the Ramblers were responsible for winning the signposting provision which was enshrined in section 27 of the Countryside Act 1968.
This states that a highway authority must erect and maintain a signpost where a public path leaves a metalled road.
The signpost must show the status of the path, eg whether it is a footpath, a bridleway or a byway. If the authority considers it convenient and appropriate, the destination of the path and distance to that destination may also be given.
Mr Holmes added: “Most paths in Dorset are well signed where they leave public roads, but it is important that the county council ensures that every path is well signed. I know of paths that are rarely used because of the absence of signage.
“In this fiftieth anniversary year of the Countryside Act 1968 which gave highway authorities a duty to signpost paths, we want to see Dorset and other councils make a real effort to ensure all their paths are marked.”