Footpaths and Rights of Way

South Lopham Footpath Map

We have produced a leaflet and map of footpaths in the parish.  You can download a PDF of  the map to print from the link below.  (The reason part of this upload is upside down is because it is intended to be printed on A3 paper and folded.)Paper copies of this map can be requested from Rob Webb.

South Lopham Footpath Leaflet as A3 spreads 060819 (2).pdf

Registration of Restricted Byways

Registration of Restricted Byways in South Lopham February 2021

South Lopham Parish Council is currently in the process of applying for four lanes in the village to be designated as Restricted Byways, the lanes are the Upper Drag Way, Lower Drag Way, Chequers Lane and Park Lane. The rationale for the applications is because although our local public footpaths are well used by walkers, there is very limited access to the countryside for horse riders and cyclists. There is also a lack of connectivity between the various paths. The current applications for the four Restricted Byways in the village is to start and address these two needs.

All landowners who own land along the four routes have recently received a copy of the public notice from the parish council informing them of the application and a copy of the notice will be posted on each route.

It should be stressed that registration of the routes as Restricted Byways does not affect ownership of the land on which the routes are to be found, nor alter any existing rights of access that the landowner currently enjoys. Those of you who have lived in the area for several years will be aware that North Lopham parish council undertook a similar registration process of its local lanes and routes a few years ago.

If anyone has any questions about this issue, please feel free to contact myself or any other member of the parish council.

Rob Webb

Chairman Parish Council

Registering Restricted Byways.pdf

map of proposed restricted byway Top Drag Way map of proposed restricted byway Grange Farm map of proposed restricted byway Park Lane map of proposed restricted byway Lower Drag Way

Survey of Public Rights of Way in South Lopham Parish

The Parish Council has recently conducted a survey of all the public rights of way in the village as the number of complaints about the poor state of our paths has been increasing in recent months. The survey has highlighted the poor condition of many of the paths, some of which are impassable, while others are well kept and easy to access.

Landowners have a statutory duty to ensure that any public path on their land is accessible and the NFU provide advice on how best to maintain these rights of way.

National Farmers Union (NFU) Advice

  • All field edge PROWs should be at least 1.5m wide and free from obstruction.
  • All cross field PROWs should be at least 1.0m wide and free from obstruction.
  • Where crops such as maize or oil seed rape are sown alongside a cross field path, it is necessary to leave a strip 1.8m wide to maintain public access.
  • If a cross field path is disturbed for cultivation, the path should be re-instated within 14 days.
  • Maintenance of gates and stiles is the responsibility of the land owner.
  • NCC Rangers can be asked by the parish council to install finger posts at each end of a PROW where it meets the public highway.
  • NCC is responsible for maintaining ditch and river crossings if they existed when the path was first recorded.
  • Parish councils should aim to work with local landowners, explaining their public rights of way responsibilities and setting out what needs to done to resolve the issue.
  • Where issues cannot be resolved at a local level, NCC Highways should be contacted to pursue the matter.

At the September council meeting it was agreed to publish the results of the footpath survey on the parish website and to write to as many landowners as possible, particularly where paths are over grown and poorly maintained, to actively encourage landowners to address any issues. We have also committed to ensuring that any missing or broken finger-posts will be replaced and Norfolk County Council have been contacted to implement this work.

A copy of the survey results, PROW reference map and sample letter that we are sending to landowners are available (PDF format).

Any specific issues relating to the accessibility and maintenance of Public Rights of Way in South Lopham Parish can be reported to the Parish Council or directly to the Rights of Way team at Norfolk County Council (further general information about PROW is also available on the NCC website).

The Maintenance of Public Rights of Way in the Lophams’

As a community we are fortunate to have an extensive network of public footpaths in the village which are protected by law.  For a number of years Breckland District Council has paid for many of these paths to be cut on a regular basis thus making them readily available for all of us to use.  However, as part of the local government cutbacks Breckland is no longer able to finance the cutting of these footpaths and is instead insisting that the landowners fulfil their legal obligations by ensuring that these paths are accessible at all times.  The withdrawal of regular cutting by Breckland has meant that many paths in each village have become overgrown and difficult to walk this year.

Norfolk County Council has given responsibility for footpath maintenance to its Highways Department who will deal directly with the landowner to ensure he is fulfilling his legal obligations.  However the parish councils in North and South Lopham would like to be made aware of any footpath problems so that they can monitor the situation in each village. Please contact the Parish Clerk, add a comment to this post or tweet @SouthLopham using hashtag #PRoW to report any issues.

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