Public rights of way
A public right of way is a route which anyone has the right to pass along without hindrance or obstruction. In law, public rights of way are highways, which are subject to the same legal protection as any other public highway.
Public rights of way are classified according to the type of use which is permitted on them:
- public footpath - a way for use only by walkers
- public bridleway - a way for use by walkers, horses and cycles
- byway open to all traffic (BOAT) - a way which carries vehicular rights but which is used mainly by walkers, horses and cycles
- restricted byway - a way for use by walkers, horses and cycles, as well as non-mechanically propelled vehicles
The use of motor vehicles is not permitted on public footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways.
Gateshead has nearly 300km of public rights of way which form a network stretching from Wardley in the east to Chopwell in the west.