Vehicles in the countryside

You might meet vehicles being driven:

  • Responsibly on a byway open to all traffic
  • By a person with a private right
  • Illegally/irresponsibly

Except in a few situations, it is a criminal offence to drive a car or motorcycle on a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway. 

If you want to drive along a byway open to all traffic

  • Follow the countryside code
  • Check that the byways that you want to use are not subject to traffic regulation orders
  • Your vehicle must be road legal (with tax, mot etc)
  • Avoid routes which are vulnerable in wet weather
  • Report any instances of irresponsible or illegal use

Private Vehicular Rights

Many landowners or tenants have a private right of vehicular access along a footpath or bridleway. This allows them and anyone they invite to their property to drive along these routes. If you have a private right of vehicular access along a public right of way, please be aware that people are probably not expecting to meet vehicles on footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways, so travel at a safe speed and have consideration to other users.

It is an offence to damage the surface of a public right of way.

Illegal or irresponsible use 

If you have come across an example of illegal use of vehicles in the countryside, this is a police matter. Inform the police with details of where and when the offence took place and ask for the incident to be “Logged”. The Log number is the reference required for anyone who is persuing the issue..

If irresponsible use of a byway is causing problems, please let us know.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Access Team

Tel: 01633 648035

Back to top