Footpaths (Public Rights of Way)

The Parish Council in conjuction with Cornwall Council are responsible for the cutting/clearing/maintenance of Public Rights of Way (P.R.O.W.s) within St. Agnes Parish.

P.R.O.W’s are placed into 3 catagories depending on usage:-  Gold, Sliver and Bronze

Wildlife and Countryside Act – Section 53

Definitive Map Modification Orders

What is a Modification Order?

[i] It is possible to apply for a Modification Order to change the Definitive Map and Statement of Public rights of Way. Such an application has to be made on the basis of evidence that the map should be amended. Public rights may exist over a route that is not shown on the Definitive Map or higher rights may exist over a route that is already shown. On the other hand, rights may be shown which have been recorded in error.

[ii] Modification Orders are not about whether it is a good thing or a bad thing that the path should be added or deleted, but about whether particular rights exist. The suitability of a claimed path for people likely to use it is irrelevant. If someone wishes to divert a path, there are separate procedures for this. (For example, if a landowner wishes to re-route a path for a valid reason then they would have to apply for a Diversion Order under the provisions of the Highways Act 1980 or the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.)

[iii] There is no charge for making a Modification Order application as, if it is successful, it becomes in effect a correction to the Definitive Map. However, an applicant would be expected to submit proper evidence with the application.

Who may apply?

Anyone may apply for a Modification Order. This includes both individuals and groups of people such as the Ramblers’ Association or a Parish Council.

When can an application be made?

An application may be made for the addition of a right of way to the Definitive Map or for the realignment or deletion of ways already shown. An applicant may also apply for a right of way to be shown differently (for example if the applicant considers that a footpath should be shown as a bridleway) or application may be made for any other particulars contained in the Map and Statement to be amended. However it is very important to realise that where the application seeks to secure a change in the location or even the deletion of an existing right of way that this claimed revision must be supported by cogent evidence. The mere assertion that the Definitive Map is incorrect is not enough.


It is important to submit as much evidence as possible in support of the application as the decision whether or not to make an Order will be based on the evidence provided and any other available evidence. There are two kinds of evidence which may be submitted: user evidence and documentary evidence.

[i] User Evidence – if a path is not shown on the Definitive Map but the public have been using it as of right for a continuous period of twenty years or more, it may have become a public right of way, unless there is sufficient evidence that there was no intention during that period to dedicate it to the public. (This is contained in Highways Act 1980 Section 31) “The public” is taken to be just that, rather than any “special” group of people such as employees of the landowner. The term “as of right” means that the public used the path as if it were a highway; that is to say openly without secrecy or the use of force and not needing to seek or be granted the permission of the landowner. The period of twenty years is counted back from the date when the public’s right was first brought into question. However, it is also possible for a dedication of a right of way to occur under the Common Law where the period of use is less than the twenty years stipulated in the Highways Act. The Living Environment Programmes Team supply Path User Forms for completion by members of the public as part of the application pack. These forms should be accompanied by a map marked by each path user to show the position of the path they are referring to in the form. These Forms and Maps should be submitted with the application.

[ii] Documentary Evidence – documentary evidence may consist of, for example: old maps, parish Records, Inclosure Awards, or Tithe Maps. Such documents may be found in the Cornwall Records Office and whilst Cornwall Council will carry out a search of primary sources as part of its investigation of an application, it may well be worth an applicant researching available records for the area in question.

How to apply

[i] The Applicant should apply to: Cornwall Council, Environment & Heritage, Programmes Team, St Clement Building, Old County Hall, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3AY Tel: 0300 1234 202 in the first instance for the relevant application forms. They are:

FORM 1 [Application for Modification Order] is to be completed and returned to the Living Environment Section. The Application must be accompanied by a map to a scale of not less than two and one half inches to one mile – larger if possible – which should clearly show the path or way in question.

FORM 2 [Notice of Application for Modification Order] is to be completed and then sent to every owner or occupier (including those with a private right over the way in question) of any land to which the application relates. A map clearly showing the effect of the application should accompany the Notice.

FORM 3 [Certificate of Service of Notice of Application] must be completed by listing the names and addresses of those owners and occupiers who have been served notice of the application. It should be returned to the Living Environment Programmes Team together with FORM 1.

[ii] If, after reasonable inquiry has been made, the applicant is unable to trace any owner/occupier affected by the application, they may apply to the Living Environment team [by completing and returning FORM 4] to dispense with a personal notice and serve notice instead by addressing it to the owner or occupier and affixing it to some conspicuous object on the land. The Certificate that notice has been served is essential: without it the Cornwall Council is under no obligation to consider the application.

What happens next?

[i] Once confirmed as legally valid any application made will be held on file until such time as it can be dealt with in accordance with the Council’s published policy statement. However, in the meantime, Cornwall Council will consult the appropriate Parish and District Councils, the local County Councillor and relevant users groups. In order to investigate the application fully and come to a decision based on all the available evidence, a full copy of the user evidence together with copies of any responses received from the above consultations will be sent to the landowners/occupiers affected and an opportunity will be given for them to submit their evidence. Any responses received, together with the consultation responses will then be sent to the applicant for their comments.

[ii] The application will normally be determined by Cornwall Council’s Solicitor in consultation with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Modification Orders Panel. If the decision is that an Order should be made, the Order will be published at a later date. Copies of the Order will be served on the applicant, landowners/occupiers and other interested parties. Notices will also be posted on site and in the local newspaper. A period will be allowed for objections or representations to be made. If objections are received, then the matter has to be passed to the Secretary of State for the Environment who normally determines the matter by holding a Local Public Inquiry.

[iii] If the decision is taken not to make an Order, the applicant has a right to appeal to the Secretary of State who will consider all the evidence and direct Cornwall Council whether or not to make an Order accordingly.

Cornwall Council,St Clement Building, County Hall, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3AY
Tel: 0300 1234 222

Dogs on Public Rights of Way and Dog Fouling Information

What is the law relating to dog fouling?
Dog fouling of a Right of Way may be an offence under a bylaw and the person responsible for the dog may be liable for a fine if they do not clear up after it . Dog fouling is an offence and a fixed penalty notice fee may be issued for not clearing up after your dog or even a prosecution resulting in a fine.
What can be done about a dog fouling offence?

If you wish to take action against a dog owner who has not cleaned up after their dog, you should note what happened as soon as possible. Include the name and address of the person in charge of the dog, a description of the dog, plus details of the date, time and place of the offence.

Contact Environmental Health and Licensing (0300 1234 212 or email and ask for their control procedures. Clearly describe the place being fouled to find what regulations cover that area.

Can I take a dog on a Public Right of Way?
Yes, a dog is considered a 'usual accompaniment' of a person on foot. Nonetheless this entitlement is confined to the line of the path and only exists whilst the dog is accompanied by its owner/ keeper. A trespass would be committed against the landowner if the dog is allowed to run off the definitive line of the path or if the owner/keeper stands at a gate and allows their dog to run free.
Must a dog be kept on a lead whilst on a Right of Way?
The law does not rule that a dog be kept on a lead whilst accompanied on a Public Right of Way. However, it does state that they must be kept under close control (see dogs and livestock below).
Dogs and Livestock
The 'Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act of 1953' makes it an offence to allow a dog to chase or attack livestock, or to be 'at large' in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep. 'At large' is defined as not on a lead, or otherwise under close control. Remember - A farmer may shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing livestock. This gives added weight to the Country Code which states that you must 'Keep your dogs under close control'.
I can't use a path because of an aggressive dog, who should I contact?

Any dog which stands on a Public Right of Way and, by its 'threatening behaviour', prevents users from using the path constitutes a public nuisance and is, therefore, considered to be an obstruction. 'Threatening behaviour' may include snarling or running around the user barking in a threatening manner. Landowners and occupiers must ensure that such dogs are kept under proper control when in the vicinity of a public right of way.

What should dog owners do?

Responsible owners do not allow their dogs to foul public places. Ideally, dogs should be trained from an early age to 'go at home' in their own garden before or after a walk, rather than during. If dog fouling does occur away from home the responsible owner will clean up after the dog. A plastic bag can be used, or a special poop-scoop bags purchased from pet shops, veterinary surgeries or stores. Dispose of faeces in the poop-scoop bin or take the bag home. If this is not possible, as a last resort double-wrap the faeces in two plastic bags and dispose in a litter bin.

For more information contact ENCAMS (previously known as the Tidy Britain Group); e-mail:

Public Rights Of Way

Details of Gold, Silver & Bronze usage categories within the Parish.