Footpaths, stiles, gates, bridleways and byways

Signpost number 1 dating from 1905. Footpath and bridle road to Edale

We are fortunate to have a wonderful heritage of rights of way protected by law. In the PNFS region there are over 28,000 km of footpaths, bridleways, and byways. They come under 35 local authorities, who have a duty to maintain these public routes.

But when you are out walking (or running, or using bridleways for cycling or horse riding) do you find routes that are overgrown, or obstructed by barbed wire? Have you found stiles that are broken, gates locked, or signs missing? Have you found paths where the surface is so bad that it is impassable?

These are all common problems on our public footpaths. We want to keep our path network open and you can help us .

Protecting and monitoring rights of way

When it comes to looking after rights of way in our region – Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire – there are three volunteer opportunities.

An footpath inspector writing in a booklet about broken boards on a boardwalk

Footpath Inspectors

Each Footpath Inspector looks at the public rights of way in at least one parish. They check and record the condition of paths, report any problems to the local highway authority and keep checking with the authority until hopefully the repair work is completed.

Find out more
A path checker next to a sign, smiling

Path Checkers

Path Checkers report to their local Footpath Inspector any problems they come across on footpaths in our region. They report issues by email, or by using a form in this website, or with our Path Checker app on their smartphone.

Find out more
An area officer next to a sign, smiling

Area Officers

With the help of Footpath Inspectors in the area concerned, Area Officers monitor path issues in a Highway Authority region or council district. They attend local public right of way (PROW) forums and liaise with authorities' rights of way officers.

Find out more

Typical footpath problems

Broken stiles


Misleading signs

Surface conditions

To report a problem you've found on a public right of way in our area, please click here.

To financially support our work as we maintain and monitor footpaths, stiles, gates, bridleways and more please click here.