Public Footpaths and Bridleways

How much does Devon County Council/Devon Highways spend on maintaining Public Footpaths and Bridleways in Devon each year? Please provide an approximate breakdown of how this is spent (‘General maintenance’, ‘signage’, ‘prosecuting landowners’) if possible.  

In 2020/21, the Authority has budgeted to spend £612k on the Public Rights of Way service. This is broken down as follows:


Service £
*PRoW maintenance 465,000
Grants to national parks 58,000
PRoW maintenance    5,000
Scheme design costs 16,000
Community schemes    5,000
Payments to parishes 63,000

* PRoW – Public Rights of Way

How many miles of Public Footpaths and Bridleways are there currently recognised by Devon County Council/Devon Highways in Devon?

The current figure for public rights of way recorded on the Definitive Map for Devon is 3,014 miles.

How many complaints regarding Public Footpaths and Bridleways in Devon have Devon County Council/Devon Highways received over the last five years?  

With regards to public rights of way, we received 10,161 incoming reports over the last 5 years. 

If possible, please provide a breakdown of what categories these complaints fall into (‘lack of signage’, ‘obstruction of path’, ‘aggressive landowner’ etc.)

Devon County Council does not record this information in a manner that can be easily extracted from the software used.  The software is not designed to enable searches for specific categories, therefore, in order to provide an answer we would have to undertake a manual interrogation of each record.  We estimate that to carry out this exercise per individual record would take 5 minutes.  Therefore to conclude this exercise for all 10,161 record entries would take approximately 847 hours to complete.

Under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 public authorities are not obliged to comply with requests which exceed the cost limit of £450 (equating to 18 hours of time).  For this reason we believe that Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act applies (cost of compliance exceeds the appropriate limits).