In most circumstances, the landowner is responsible for making sure that hedges and trees don’t overhang a public right of way so as to obstruct it.
We have a right to remove overgrowth that is causing an obstruction. We can also require owners of overhanging hedges to lop or cut back the hedge within a period of 14 days.
If a byway is being damaged because hedges or trees are blocking light and air, we can go to a magistrates court to ask for an order which will require the owner to cut back the trees/hedges. However, before using this power, we’ll discuss the matter with adjacent landowners and ask them to cut back the hedges or trees, or agree to work with the owner as part of a larger project.
We’re responsible for making sure that vegetation growing on the surface of the public right of way is kept under control and doesn’t make the route difficult to use.
We have a seasonal maintenance programme, and cut the paths on our database every May and September. If a path is obstructed by undergrowth at other times, please let us know.
Pesticides and herbicides can be dangerous so they’re not usually used on public rights of way. We may occasionally spray paths if it’s the only way to eradicate dangerous or invasive weeds. In these cases, we’ll put up notices to warn users of the path.