AN APPLICATION to create a new right of way in Herefordshire has been waiting for more than 27 years for a decision, it has been revealed. 

The application to create a new footpath, which was submitted in June 1996, is still in the hands of Herefordshire Council as of March 2024, a freedom of information request has revealed.

It would see the Wye Valley Walk joined from Kerne Bridge to an existing bridleway in Walford, Ross-on-Wye.


It is just one of the 215 undetermined or pending definitive map modification order applications sitting on Herefordshire's register. 

The definitive map and statement is the conclusive legal record of the public rights of way in the county. If a route is shown on the Definitive Map and Statement, it is conclusive proof that it is a public right of way.

Changes to the map, for reasons such as to legally record missing existing public rights of way, remove a route where evidence proves it does not exist, or to correct the status of a route can only be made by means of a definitive map modification order, made under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Anyone can apply to modify it, and the council has a legal duty to investigate and decide whether it must make a modification order, provided sufficient evidence has been provided to support the application.

But the process is a slow one. In 2019, 32 applications were submitted, but just four were determined, while in 2020, 72 were submitted but again, just four were determined.

In 2022, 31 applications were submitted and one decided, while in 2023 eight were submitted but none were decided.

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Herefordshire Council said that there are two full-time posts and one part-time post for processing definitive map modification order applications, but that the two full-time posts are currently vacant. 

The council also said that other duties are also covered in the job roles of those responsible for working on order applications.

The Walford footpath has not yet been decided on as it is classed as a 'low priority' application and will always be pushed down the list by high and medium-priority applications being dealt with first, the council said.