New Rights of Way Improvement Plan completed

A new plan is in place to identify, prioritise and improve the Rights of Way in Cardiff up until 2030.

Cardiff has a network of about 200km/124 miles of Rights of Way paths across the county, consisting of footpaths and bridleways, with most in the north and north-west of Cardiff. A third of the entire county is countryside, with four protected river and steam valleys, which are the River Ely, the River Taff as well as the tidal Rhymney River and the Nant Fawr.

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, local authorities have a responsibility to maintain the Definitive Map showing the Rights of Way Network, clearly waymark the routes and ensure the paths are open for the public to enjoy.

A significant consultation exercise has been carried out with the public, so we can understand their priorities and as a result, a list of five key strategies and 12 key aims have been drawn up under the new plan.

The 12 key aims are:

  • Improve management and ongoing maintenance of the Public Rights of Way (PROW) network
  • Maintain an up to date Definitive Map - which shows the PROW routes in Cardiff
  • Enhance Cardiff's ecosystems alongside the routes
  • Install way marking across the PROW network to help the public find their way
  • Support the Cardiff Local Access Forum and work in partnership with interested parties
  • Identify and improve strategic links and accessibility to the network
  • Improve and increase the bridleway network
  • Protect and enhance paths within the new developments and on private land
  • Improve the communication with the public so they are able to report a problem on the network
  • Maintain and improve the Wales Coast Path
  • Improve information about the trails that are available, places to visit, outdoor activities and events
  • Promote codes of conduct for the public to respect the environment and other path users. 

The majority of the Rights of Way network is on private land, so the council works with private landowners to ensure stiles, gates and other furniture are in a fit state for the public to use.

A Spokesperson for Cardiff Council said: "Maintaining and improving the Rights of Way in Cardiff to a high standard is a key priority for the Council, as well as creating links to green spaces and active travel routes for more people to use and enjoy.

"Delivery plans will be produced which will outline the work that the council are doing to maintain the paths. There are also a number of other grant funded projects which will dovetail into the new Rights of Way Improvement Plan, including providing aftercare to realign the Wales Coast Path, additional money for wayfinding routes and maintenance, working with partner authorities to improve long distance horse and mountain bike trails, as well as working with organisations to improve biodiversity and habitats."

The first Delivery Plan is due to be published in 2020-2021 and some of the highlights of this work is explained below:

  • Create a condition survey and criteria to prioritise ongoing maintenance required and identify locations for path improvements. A condition survey of the whole network will be carried out, so we can understand how accessible the network is and where more work is needed to open up the paths for the public to enjoy.
  • Recording locations where invasive weeds have been found on the path network such as Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam and monitor sites over a 3-year period to treat and prevent the spreading of these weeds. 
  • Work with developers and council officers to improve the path network as part of the Local Development Plan. Protect existing routes and realign them where needed to ensure they are retained in green corridors and spaces, along with strategic links to active travel routes and communities.
  • Begin planning the design and access route for the Wales Coast Path through Lamby Way to align the path closer to the coast. This project will also include working in partnership with the Green Infrastructure Group and the Living Levels Project. 

Cardiff's Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) 2020-30 will be available to view online on the Cardiff Council website from mid-December 2019 and will then be available to view in County Hall, City Hall and Cardiff Hubs & Libraries.