Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Most common problems

In an ideal world, all footpaths would be clear and accessible throughout their length, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Peak & Northern inspectors regularly monitor paths in their parishes, but you also can help improve the quality of our paths by reporting any problems to the society, using the problem reporting form. We are not able to accept problem reports by telephone.

Problems which should be reported include Obstructions, Stiles, Bridges, Animals, Surface Condition, and Signs.


Obstructions of the way constitute the most serious problems, such as:

  • Barbed wire, e.g. across stiles or around gates. You are entitled to remove any such obstruction, but you must be certain that it lies on the line of the path.
  • Electrified fences.
  • Crops and ploughing. Briefly, a farmer is allowed to disturb the surface of a path but must reinstate within 14 days. Headland paths (field edge paths) must not be ploughed.
  • Landslips.
  • Large holes. These are often caused by open-cast mining or quarrying.
  • Streams or ditches which cannot easily be crossed. Because of modern excavation machinery, some dykes have been widened or deepened to such an extent that crossing is impossible without a bridge.
  • Buildings. These can include farm buildings, housing, industrial development, road construction or widening, extended gardens, car parks, golf  courses, sports pitches, etc.
  • Locked gates. (Or those very difficult to open.)
  • By person, for instance ‘get off my land’. Try to encourage the person to do all the talking, to ascertain when they believe the path was diverted or closed, so that a full report can be submitted. You will have to decide, based on the circumstances, whether to proceed or gracefully withdraw.

Stiles and Bridges

A stile or bridge which is is difficult and/or dangerous to use should be reported. Walkers vary immensely in agility and head for heights, so a stile which an athletic rock climber will enjoy scrambling over in fifteen seconds may be so defective that most other walkers will take several frightening minutes to get over it. Please apply the test  ‘Can this right of way be used safely and easily by everyone who is likely to walk it?' Every stile should have a stepboard and a secure handhold – without these it is merely a fence.


Surface Condition

Where the path surface is boggy, covered by water, mud, dung, overgrown vegetation, or ruts, and these problems cannot easily be bypassed, so that walking over the way is much more arduous than users should reasonably expect in such a location having regard to prevailing weather, then these should be reported.


Related pages

What you can do Report a problem to us Inspection Website Inspection Video

Page title:Most common problems
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