Cycling on footpaths and in Anston Stones Wood

There was an item on Monday’s (20th June) APC agenda concerning a person who broke his collarbone while riding in ASW. He did not fall whilst cycling on the path at a moderate speed, he went over the edge and apparently tumbled about 20 feet down the hillside.

The parish council do not owe him-or anyone else in a  similar situation- a duty of care for the following reasons: Pedal cyclists no right to use footpaths unless use is by permission.  A cyclist who rides on a footpath commits trespass against the holder of the land over which the path runs.

Are all footpaths rights of way?

No. There are many paths that the public is able to use but that are not legally rights of way and do not enjoy the same protection. Paths crossing public parks and open spaces, commons and other sites to which the public has access may not necessarily be rights of way, though some of them are.

Who owns the paths? The surface of the path is for most purposes considered to belong to the highway authority (RMBC). What this means is that the authority owns the surface of the way and so much of the soil below and the air above as is necessary for the control, protection and maintenance of the highway. The rest normally belongs to the owner of the surrounding land.

Cycling in a SSSI site is frowned on.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act 2000) The Act provides for public access on foot to certain types of land, amends the law relating to public rights of way, increases measures for the management and protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Schedule 9 of the Act amends SSSI provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, including provisions to change SSSIs and providing increased powers for their protection and management. The provisions extend powers for entering into management agreements; place a duty on public bodies to further the conservation and enhancement of SSSIs; increases penalties on conviction where the provisions are breached; and introduce a new offence whereby third parties can be convicted for damaging SSSIs. To ensure compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998, appeal processes are introduced with regards to the notification, management and protection of SSSIs.

Schedule 12 of the Act amends the species provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, strengthening the legal protection for threatened species. The provisions make certain offences ‘arrestable’, create a new offence of reckless disturbance, confer greater powers to police and wildlife inspectors for entering premises and obtaining wildlife tissue samples for DNA analysis, and enable heavier penalties on conviction of wildlife offences.

It is accepted not all cyclists are uncaring but the footpaths around the parish hall and through Anston Stones Wood are there for walking not cycling however I understand  councillors are looking at this problem.

One suggestion could be to dedicate a cycle trail through the parish grounds and local area but this requires;

  • community involvement
  • negotiation
  • public rights of way
  • non-statutory negotiations with landowners
  • land assembly and planning
  • legislation
  • Traffic Regulation Orders
  • introduction to town planning
  • planning permission, making a planning application and planning conditions
  • Listed Building Consents
  • flexibility of Planning Permissions and Non planning consents
  • Local Development Framework process.



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23 Responses to Cycling on footpaths and in Anston Stones Wood

  1. S Thornton says:

    sorry Richard, the main footpaths, top and bottom are Public footpaths as designated on the Definitive Map ( for those not in the know, a footpath can only be a footpath if it is registered on the Definitive Map, the Map is held at RMBC and can be seen by the Public). All other paths ( not bridleways etc) are known as “Permissive Paths”, and the use of those footpaths is at the permission of the Land owner.


  2. S Thornton says:

    For Tommy.
    I dont “blather” I try to give informed facts. I have seen an email today from RMBC footpaths department, which states quite clearly that Cycling on footpaths is illegal ( regardless of where the footpath is) But you knew that did`nt you.
    Another coward who feels its brave to snip at people, whilst hiding behind false names. I challenge you to reveal who you are, then your comments would be believed by others.

    S Thornton
    P.S My fan club seems to be growing.


    • Richard says:

      You are quite correct cycling on public footpaths is a civil offence not a criminal offence. This only applies to public footpaths not all footpaths the public have access to. Therefore footpaths in ASW are not designated public footpaths only paths the public are allowed to use by the land owner.


  3. S Thornton says:

    Time for some facts. It was reported to the Parish Council that approx twenty cyclists entered Anston Stones Wood, and that one of those cyclists “went down a steep hill”. He fell off and fractured his “shoulder” ? in a couple of places. All the approved entrances to ASW are controlled by “A” frame gates. These gates were put in a few years ago prevent cycles/motor cycles entering the Nature Reserve, which includes a SSSI site. ( the SSSI site covers most of the wooded area) In order that these cyclists could enter the woods, they must have “jumped” either the steel gates or the A frames. In effect they were entering an area they should not have accessed with their cycles. Public footpaths are not cycle paths. Other paths in the woods are “permissive paths” and their use is under the control of the Parish Council. The Council is not seeking to ban Cycling in the woods, it has never been permitted in the first place.


    • tommy says:

      Time for more facts. As a regular user of Anston Stones, I know it is common knowledge that there are numerous entrances into the stones that do not restrict cycles. I have never seen any signage stating “No cycling” so are signs going up banning cycling. More pointless blathering from Parish Councillor Thornton.


    • Watchman says:

      If you were familiar with the law instead of pointless comments you would not post rubbish.


  4. vocalyokel says:

    APC don’t have the funds or resources to enforce a ban so frankly their doing what they do best which is debating something they have little or no chance of doing anything about, they should leave well alone and concentrate on running the council and responding to residents genuine concerns as opposed to just ignoring them.


  5. odd fellow says:

    Then sir how meany children ride bicycle s on foot paths with out gaining permission from meany have been stopped and dealt with this subject was brought to light over an unfortunate avent wich is now being used as a catalyst to implement change


  6. odd fellow says:

    As I understand it apc are looking in to mountain biking in the woods and are seeking advice with a view to baning it as stated at a council meeting along with two other issues how is this moving of post


  7. odd fellow says:

    Quite honestly I find it hard to grasp why the council are trying to take this action against pedal cycling in the woods this as being going on for years in fact a local chap used to use the same route day in day out in oder to get to an from work now that was in the late 60s can apc please stop engaging the public in such matters for one it will have no effect also as I understand two further items are on the cards reference fishing and dogs that will once again cause unrest when will you stop these stupid actions you can not in force or control all


    • Watchman says:

      I cannot find any evidence APC “are trying to take action against pedal cycling”.
      Can you provide it?
      Once again this is another attempt to divert the thread.Please read and understand the comment I posted in reply to lovedinnington.


  8. I would point our the following;

    1. Cycling has gone on there for decades, usage is established so you can’t actually ban it.

    2. It’s never caused a problem so why worry?


    • Watchman says:

      ‘Pedal cyclists have a right to use bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic, but on bridleways they must give way to walkers and riders. Like horse riders, they have no right to use footpaths and if they do so they are committing a trespass against the owner of the land, unless use is by permission


  9. miss f sales says:

    Once agen apc has plans to create public up unrest as I understand it the cycles left the path and went down the bank this is charity land and dos not come under sssi in fact it is part of the nature reserve so your statement is misleading now if apc seek a ban on cycle s how do they intend to enforce the ban


  10. Insider. says:

    Even though there is a sign at the back of the Parish Hall which says ‘Public Footpath’ nobody seems to know whether or not it is a Permissive Path and not a Public Path.
    If the public uses a path without interference for some period of time (set by statute at 20 years) then the owner had intended to dedicate it as a right of way but I’m not sure how this can be proven in the case of these footpaths?
    A Cycle Trail is a good idea but looking at what is involved I would suggest-if this ever gets the go ahead-that APC asks one of the national cycling groups to work with them to make sure it is the right thing to do and perhaps speed up the process.


    • RMBCs website has a map showing all official paths and bridleways.


    • Watchman says:

      The footpaths around the parish hall are not on RMBC’s Definitive Map.

      I have consulted our maps and can confirm that there are no Public Rights of way in that immediate area and no permissive paths either.
      However it may be a path put in by the Parish Council so it may be worth asking the Parish Clerk for Anston.
      I hope this information is helpful.


      Alex Couszins

      Rights of Way assistant.
      Network Management – Streetpride Service
      Regeneration and Environment
      Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council


  11. christine sadler says:

    yes we do need guidance on this subject, this is also a problem on the canal towpath I wonder where we stand on this, from a concerned resident


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