Apply for a definitive map modification order

You may wish to apply for a definitive map modification order (DMMO) if you have evidence that:

  • a path or way that you and others have been using as a right of way for years is not shown
  • a path shown with a particular description should be shown as a highway of a different description, for example where a footpath has been used for many years by horse riders and you wish to apply to have it recorded as a bridleway
  • there is no public right of way over land shown in the map and statement of any description, or it is in the wrong place
  • any other particulars in the map and statement require modification.

The evidence may be in the form of historical documents or use by the public, or both. The procedure is set out under schedule 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Before making an application you should check both the definitive map and the register of existing DMMO applications (in the form of a map) and talk to the Definitive Map Team – we may be able to tell you whether a route has already been considered through the parish-by-parish review or help you with plans.

If you still want to make an application, you should:

  • download the application forms and guidance notes
  • gather your evidence, both documentary and from users of the route (separate evidence form available here¬†or a statutory declaration version if preferred).
  • identify all the owners and occupiers of all land to which the application relates (this includes anyone that has land next to the route in question and anyone who may have access along it) and tell them that you are making the application by giving them a completed ‘Form B’ – the notice to be sent to all occupiers and owners affected by the application.

Please note that DMMO applications should not be made:

  • where you think it would be a good idea to have a public path in a particular place
  • if you think that the path is not suitable for its current classification and should be changed
  • if you think that the path is not needed for public use.

These are not matters that can be taken into account under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. For more information about the process and legal tests, please see the Natural England guidance.

Please also note that formal applications for definitive map modification orders are generally dealt with as part of the parish-by-parish Definitive Map Review but sometimes it is considered necessary to consider them out-of-turn.

For definitive map review policy statements, which set out our priorities for keeping the definitive map up-to-date, please see our Rights of Way Improvement Plan and relevant policy updates.