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Andrew Granger & Co explain why it’s important to manage unauthorised access to private land

Wed 13 October 2021

With increasing public use of the countryside over the last 18 months and with outdoor trends set to continue, public rights of way are constantly used to access the great outdoors. It is now more important than ever for landowners to protect themselves against new rights of way (ROW) being registered on their land by depositing a Statutory Declaration with their local council.

Statutory Declarations establish the existing rights of way on land and protect against new ROWs being registered – something that’s possible by a third party if a path has been created and used uninterrupted for 20 years or more. The Declarations last for 20 years and then another will need to be submitted, so it is worth checking when your last one was submitted.

You may not have any official rights of way crossing your land as listed on the definitive map, but you may have struggled with walkers accessing areas that are private property and walking over areas they shouldn’t.

We have recently assisted a landowner in Leicestershire with the application and submission of the Section 31 (6) Rights of Way Declaration to prevent a new right of way being established over an arable field. Walkers were using the route as a shortcut to the original path which followed the field boundary. The landowner now does not need to renew the application until 2041.

If you have footpaths that cross your land or property and/or are concerned about a third party acquiring a right of way over your land, please get in touch with our rural team based in our Loughborough office who will be able to advise accordingly or assist with the submission of the relevant applications to protect your land and property.

Andrew Granger & Co’s rural team can be contacted at or by calling 01509 243720.