The Trails Trust
the trails trust
Creating multi-user public rights of way
We'll add download files in here...
  • Press Release Historic Rights of Way - case to abolish 2026 and Historic Rights of Way - case to abolish 2026
  • The Trails Trust Trustees and members call upon Government to abandon the 2026 deadline to register unrecorded rights of way read the press release and briefing here

  • 2021 DEFRA Tests & Trials, test 159 report and appendix 'How to incentivise green infrastructure access & biodiversity creation'
  • Test 159 - How to incentivise green infrastructure access & biodiversity creation
    The Trails Trust and the Mendip Hills Team are pleased to be able to publish the final report

    Leaving the EU has given a unique opportunity to redesign agricultural policies and design future schemes that reward environmental land management. The new schemes will be called the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery. in the Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilot will begin in 2022 with all three schemes fully available from 2024. A programme of Tests and Trials that will inform the new scheme is currently running including the ELM 159 test.

    About the team
    The test team included local agricultural and Natural England (principal access officer) consultants and members of The Trails Trust and the Mendip Hills AONB unit.

    The team explored the valuable opinions of local landowners and land managers about rights of way, open access land and other access and the potential for enhancing biodiversity along access corridors - using the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounding area as the test area (approximately 300 square kilometres).

    We invited 50 landowners and land managers to participate. Participants needed to be the holding owner and decision maker(s) - landowner, leaseholder and / or tenant.

    The ELM 159 team's work included:
    Developing a Rights of Way Improvement Plan - a sustainable network development plan of key permanent multi-user routes (on foot, bicycle, with a horse or disabled conveyance - either bridleway, restricted byway or multi use open access) for the test area.

    Surveying 103 potential routes that completed a usable network of linear and circular routes linking to existing multi-user routes and quiet unclassified county roads. The development routes were surveyed for existing access and biodiversity characteristics and potential improvements. These routes represent the green infrastructure in the Government's 25 year plan - encouraging public engagement with landscape, biodiversity, green infrastructure and preserving heritage.

    Designing a questionnaire to capture landowner and land manager opinions on existing access, proposed access (as per the surveyed routes), rewards envisaged, capital improvements and annual maintenance (beyond statutory requirements), the need for collaboration and the advice required.

    Interviewing 50 participants, analysing the results and writing a report.

    The 159 Team would like to thank all the participants for taking part and the DEFRA Tests & Trials Team for giving the opportunity to carry out this research and for being so supportive.

  • 2020 The Trails Trust response to the Defra Consultation
  • 2020 The Trails Trust response to the Defra Consultation about the proposed Environment Land Management Scheme

  • The Trails Trust - Trustee Meeting Documents
  • The Trails Trust Management Board is holding a trustee meeting followed by the 2019 AGM on Thursday July 4th 2019 commencing at 7PM at Virginia Cottage, Upper Vobster, Radstock, BA3 5SA by kind invitation of Amy and Keith Reynolds All members are invited to attend

  • The Trails Trust - Articles of Association
  • About this document. TTT was incorporated in 1997 as a company limited by guarantee - registration number 3637593. TTT became a charity in 2002 - registration number 1094139. The articles of association have been updated several times - this document is the latest. The Articles form the constitution, define the responsibilities of the Council of Management (the Trustees) and the business to be undertaken. There are a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 10 trustees.

  • Trust guide to creating rights of way - Download (FREE)
  • Creating Multi-User Public Rights of Way - A Guide for Local Groups written by Rachel Thompson MBE for The Trails Trust in 2011. About this document - the book was supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and by Natural England. The book explains in detail TTT's unique approach in using simple voluntary dedications by landowners to secure permanent rights of way. Other mechanisms are also discussed. The book is used by user groups nationally - most particularly in the recent past to secure new routes under the Government's Paths For Community Fund (P4C) 2012 -2013. The book should be read in conjunction with other documents about express dedication / creation of highways in this library.

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) letter to Natural England (NE) 2012.
  • (David Waterman Defra to Paul Johnson NE)
    About this letter - the letter was intended to offer guidance on legal and practical issues relating to the express dedication of public rights of way at common law (EDCL) in England. It represents Defra's view of the current law. It can be circulated as general guidance to interested parties such as local community groups who are contemplating making a bid for P4C funding, and local authorities.

  • Upper Vobster, parishes of Coleford and Mells. Appeal, public inquiry and appeal papers (5 documents). 2012 / 2013
  • About these documents. The Trails Trust approach has been tested (once only) at public inquiry following the refusal of Somerset County Council to make an order to show as a bridleway on the County Council's Definitive Map and Statement a route currently shown as a footpath, leading from the public highway in the Hamlet of Upper Vobster to Dark Lane in the parish of Coleford. The appeal and PI (Inspectors Millman / Cruickshank) is an important discussion of principles - express dedication by owners and adjacent owners (where land is unowned), user acceptance, maintenance by LHA, consent of mortgagee, nuisance to users of upgrading footpath to bridleway. The bridleway order was confirmed following a correcting of the alignment due to a mapping error.

  • Multi user cycle tracks - the case for horse inclusion.
  • About these documents. A useful set of documents providing evidence that horses should be included as a matter of course on all existing and proposed new paths (surfaced cycle tracks, greenways, multi user paths developed by councils and others).

  • Matthew White, St John's Chambers, 101 Victoria Street - The Trails Trust and the Creation of Highways advice 29/8/17
  • About this document. TTT asked barrister Matthew White to advise on creation of highways at common law, in particular in the light of reluctance on the part of some (by no means all) local authorities to recognise highways that have not been created within a statutory framework.

  • The Trails Trust - all about express dedication - case law and benefits of use to landowners, users and local highway authorities
  • About this document Express dedication at Common Law This paper provides a legal basis for both the Defra Guidance and an analysis of the benefits of using highway creation through express dedication and acceptance for landowners and the public who want to use this method to create bridleways. A protocol to enable authorities to accept and correctly record express dedications at common law is also included.

  • Government 25 Environment Plan 2018 / Agriculture Bill
  • The plan can be found here. TTT has responded to the passage of the Agriculture bill (scrutiny committee) which is associated with the plan and submitted a trial proposal within the Mendip Hills AONB area.

  • TTT has GDPR policies adopted in 2018. Find these here.

  • 2019 TTT / MHAONB Defra Elm trial submission
  • About this document - TTT in partnership with the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty unit has submitted a green infrastructure (rights of way) trial proposal to Defra to be considered as a public access test under the environmental land management subsidy scheme trials. See more about the Mendip Hills AONB at