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Footpath Closures

Landowners can restrict or prevent access for up to 28 days a year to Open Access Land without special permission, and can apply for additional restrictions for purposes such as land management, conservation and fire prevention.

These closures apply only to the wider right of access -- where, for example, land closed under the 28-day rule is crossed by a footpath that is a public right of way, you still have a right to use the footpath.

However, sometimes, footpaths themselves have to be closed temporarily if they have become dangerous or for maintenance but diversions are implemented where possible and sometimes for unusual reasons. I once had to divert from the recognised footpath in the Trough of Bowland because of a signed danger of attack from an eagle owl during the nesting season. If you have ever seen an eagle owl, you will know this was a sign to be respected!

Closure is done by a Traffic Regulation Order. However, it is most annoying to plan a walk then find your route is closed. Most local authorities list such closures on their websites. Current orders for some of the main walking areas, where I have walks listed and where I have been able to find a list, can be viewed by visiting the following links. Sometimes large organisations change their websites' structures, resulting in moribund links. If you find these links do not work, or if you can fill in any blanks, please email me, so I can update for the benefit of other walkers.


Cotswolds (Gloucestershire)

County Durham

Devon (Coastal Path only)

Dorset (black markings on map indicate closures. Click on them for more details)

East Yorkshire

Lake District

Northumberland National Park

North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Moors

Peak District



Yorkshire Dales

There may be closures of some moorland during the grouse shooting season which runs from ("The Glorious") 12 August to 10th December in the UK, except for Northern Ireland when it ends on 30th November.

For specific closures of Open Access land, see the Natural England website. The tricky part is finding the correct name to input but Ordnance Survey co-ordinates can be used.

For closures on the Bolton Abbey Estate due to grouse shooting, these are listed on their website.

In Scotland, there is deer stalking to contend with. The overall season is from 1 July to 20th October each year but different areas use more limited dates within that. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code website gives maps and more precise information of closures in specific areas.

If anyone knows of other specific sources for this information for different areas, please email Happy Hiker.

If you have a problem using a right of way – for example, an obstruction, poor maintenance or a misleading sign, or notice fly tipping – you should report it to:

  • the National Park Authority if it’s in a national park
  • the local highway authority for land outside national parks – you can contact them through your local council
  • the Forestry Commission in woodland

Local authorities, landowners and land occupiers all have a duty to keep public rights of way open and useable.

Contact points for these authorities can be found at the Directgov website.


All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.