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Rights of way are legally recorded public highways across privately owned land.  They are all documents on a legal record known as the Definitive Map and Statement and can be viewed on East Sussex Highways online rights of way map

East Sussex has around 2,000 miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways. East Sussex County Council manages these paths to ensure that they give safe and easy access for the public.

What are the different types of rights of way?

  • Public footpath – for use by walkers only. You can also use a pushchair or wheelchair on a footpath, but the nature of the path may mean this is not possible. Accompanied dogs are allowed but must be kept under close control – find out more about dogs on public rights of way.
  • Public bridleway – for use by walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Cyclists should give way to walkers and horse riders.
  • Byway open to all traffic – sometimes referred to as Byways, BOATs or Green Lanes. These can be used by motorised vehicles, horse-drawn carriages, cyclists, horse-riders and walkers. Find out more about byways.
  • Restricted byway – for use by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and horse-drawn carriages.
  • Permissive Routes - There are also other footpaths and bridleways in East Sussex that are not recorded on the Definitive Map. These are known as permissive routes, where the landowner allows public access across their land but has the right to withdraw or restrict public access if they wish. As they are not legally recorded the County Council has no powers to maintain them or ensure they remain available.


Does East Sussex County Council own the rights of way in the county?

No, the majority of Rights of Way are on private land. The County Councils Responsibility is the installation and maintenance of way marking and signage, surface maintenance, clearance of vegetation growing through the surface, the installation and maintenance of bridges, undertaking of enforcement action to protect public access and the maintenance and review of the Definitive Map.

Who is responsible for the maintenance?

Maintenance of the public rights of way is the responsibility of both the County Council and landowners. Find out more about what we maintain and landowner responsibilities.

Who do I contact to report a damaged sign on a public right of way?

Please contact East Sussex County Council's Rights of Way Team who will investigate your report.

Can I take my dog on public right of way?

Accompanied dogs are allowed but must be kept under close control. Find out more by visiting East Sussex County Council's website.

Can you walk freely on open access land?

You can walk freely on mapped areas of downland, heathland and registered common land, as well as mountains and moors. Find out more and view maps of open access land in England please visit



Public Rights of Way report »