Highways Act 1980 Section 31 (6)
Information for Landowners
Protecting your Land
Regular use by the public of an informal path, or land for lawful sports and pastimes, can result in those rights being formalised and recorded. You can protect your land against claims for public rights of way, or village green rights, by showing that, at the relevant time, you did not intend these rights to be acquired. This can be done by physical actions such as displaying notices, fencing the land or locking gates.
One option for landowners to protect their land is set out in legislation. This enables the landowner (or their agent) to send to Devon County Council a statement and map, showing the extent of their land and what rights they admit exist over it (view the interactive map to see existing public rights of way). This will protect the land from claims for additional rights of way from the date of deposit for a period of up to twenty years, at which time it may be renewed by submitting a further declaration. Once lodged with the County Council, the map, statement and declaration become public documents and available for public inspection. All local authorities are required to keep a register of maps and statements deposited, and declarations lodged under Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980.
From 1 October 2013, statements and declarations can be made in respect of either rights of way, village greens, or both. Applications will need to be accompanied by a basic fee (see below for details). Please note that as from the 1st October 2013, Devon County Council will only accept Section 31(6) deposits on the new form CA16.
How to make an application
If you are looking to make an application to submit a highways statement (to protect your land against claims for rights of way) and/or a landowner statement (to protect your land against claims for village green rights), and/or a declaration, view our further guidance document (79KB - pdf help) and application form CA16. Defra guidance is available online.
For information regarding Landowner Statements only, please contact:
Land Charges, Devon County Council, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 4QD.
Tel: 0345 155 1004 (please ask for Land Charges)
All applications will need to be accompanied by a basic fee of £420 to cover the Council’s costs of logging the application, making it available on our website and register, placing notices on site and sending notifications, in line with the new regulations. If the deposit comprises several parcels of land which are not adjacent, there may be an additional fee to pay, so for further advice prior to completing Form CA16, please contact:
Public Rights of Way, Devon County Council, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 4QD.
Tel: 0345 155 1004 (please ask for Public Rights of Way)
Applications for Highways Declarations can be made at any point within 20 years from the date the Statement was deposited. However, if a Highways Declaration is received at Devon County Council within 28 days of the initiating Statement, it will be processed at no extra cost.
Register of Landowner Statements, Highways Statements and Declarations
Devon County Council is responsible for keeping a register of the statements and declarations deposited in both paper and electronic format. The paper version may be viewed at County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD, Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.00pm. (For the register of Landowner Statements please ask for Land Charges; for the register of Highways Statements and Declarations please ask for Public Rights of Way).
View the electronic register in digitised form using the interactive map here. To view a deposit, click on the area shaded pink with the information tool. You will need to temporarily allow popups.
Current Notices of Landowner Statements and Highways Statements/Declarations
- Land at Hill Barton Farm, Berrynarbor, Ilfracombe, Notice (73KB - pdf help) and Plan (545KB - pdf help)
- Land at The Knowle, Sidmouth, Notice and Plan (454KB - pdf help)