Public rights of way are protected by law. The Definitive Map is the legal record of all known public rights of way in Cambridgeshire. It is accompanied by the Definitive Statement, which describes the route, position and width where defined of each right of way, as well as any limitations.
The county council is responsible for keeping the Definitive Map and Statement up to date. Records are also kept of many of Cambridgeshire's permissive paths. A permissive path is where a landowner has agreed to let the public use a route on their land, but no legal public right of way exists.
For commercial companies and individuals wishing to apply for a highway / public rights of way or common land and town / village green search, please see our highway searches webpage.
To manage, improve and promote a public rights of way network as an integral part of a wider transport system, we developed a rights of way improvement plan. This forms part of our wider Cambridgeshire Local Transport Plan and can be viewed on our Local Transport Plan webpage.
How to view the Definitive Map and Statement
For recreational purposes, you can view public rights of way on a Google map on your smartphone.
Visit our rights of way page to find out more.
Public rights of way and permissive paths can be viewed on our interactive map below for general reference. The interactive map is not the legal record.
The Definitive Map and Statement cannot be viewed online. These are public documents and can be viewed by appointment only. To arrange an appointment, please email email@example.com.
If you believe you have discovered an error or anomaly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amending the Definitive Map and Statement
The Definitive Map may be changed using three different principal pieces of legislation described below.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
Under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, any person can:
- apply to record a public right of way which can be proved to exist but is not shown in our records
- amend a public right of way which can be proved to have been recorded incorrectly
To make a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) application or for further information, please see the following documents:
We have been receiving exceptionally high volumes of DMMO applications. Due to limited resources, and in order to maintain all our service commitments, we will no longer be able to notify land owners, councils, and members of DMMO applications as they are received; and will now only notify once investigation commences. This practice is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
It should be noted that before investigation commences, the applicant is required to inform all land owners along the affected route in accordance with paragraph 2 of Schedule 14 to the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. Where the applicant has notified landowners, the application in the DMMO register will be show in the ‘Paragraph 2 Compliant’ column as: “YES”. If landowners have not been notified, it will show ‘NO’. Once an application is shown as paragraph 2 compliant, investigation is unlikely to commence for several years, due to the number of queued applications.
For more information, please view our Frequently Asked Questions document, or contact us via our email address.
The Highways Act 1980
Public Path Orders under sections 25, 26, 118 and 119 of the Highways Act 1980 may be made to create, extinguish or divert footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways. An application under this Act must meet specific criteria, pass legal tests and undergo a process of public consultation.
The Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Orders to divert and extinguish public rights of way may be made under section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act, to enable development to take place. The process of changing the Definitive Map under this Act follows the planning process.
If you are involved in development that affects public rights of way you can download the Guidance for planners and developers.
Pre-application advice to potential developers and their agents is available in terms of public rights of way and highway records, as well as for the service areas listed below:
- Planning, ecology and biodiversity, transport and highways, and travel for work
- Historic environment
Lost highways research
As part of the continual review of our records, the council researches historic routes which may be public highways that should be recorded. Where these 'lost highways' could provide a useful route, we work with landowners and parish councils to preserve the route or agree a compromise.
If you are interested in helping us by researching historic routes, please read the Information Sheet on Lost Highways Research 2019 (PDF, 460KB)
This webpage uses data that is public sector information from Cambridgeshire County Council. The data is licensed on terms equivalent to the Ordnance Survey OpenData Licence under the UK Government Licensing Framework, and a charge may be made.
The data is updated approximately fortnightly (this is not the relevant date of the legal Definitive Map and Statement used as a source for this data).
A council's Definitive Map and Statement is the authoritative source of information about the public rights of way in that council's area. The details of the public rights of way network contained in the data supplied on this page are for information only, and are an interpretation of the Definitive Map and Statement, not the Definitive Map itself, and should not be relied on for determining the position or alignment of any public right of way.
For legal purposes, the data does not replace its Definitive Map and Statement and changes may have been made to the Definitive Map and Statement that are not included in this data. The data contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right of the current year. Attempting to view this data at a scale greater than 1:10000 may produce an inaccurate rendering of the route of a public right of way.