The Parish of Chetnole has a number of paths some of which fall into one of the categories listed below:

PUBLIC FOOTPATH – Public Footpaths provide a right of way for walkers and wheelchair users.

PUBLIC BRIDLEWAY – Public Bridleways may be used for riding or leading a horse. They also provide a right of way for walkers, wheelchair users and pedal cyclists (as long as the cyclist gives way to all other users).

RESTRICTED BYWAY – Restricted Byways provide a right of access for walkers, wheelchair users, horse riders, pedalcyclists and users of non-mechanically propelled vehicles such as horse drawn carriages

BYWAY OPEN TO ALL TRAFFIC (BOAT) – Along a BOAT, a right of way exists for walkers, wheelchair users, horse riders, cyclists and people driving all nonmechanically propelled and motorised vehicles.

All who walk these routes need to pay due care and attention not only to the Country Code but to be aware of the landowners needs and those of other walkers. In common with many areas the largest proportion of walkers tend to be those who own dogs. Dog owners need to be aware of the following points:

Not let their dog foul public rights of way - It’s very easy to train a pet to go at home in the garden. If a dog is caught short, its mess should be cleared up and disposed of either in a dog bin or in household refuse having been double wrapped first.

Keep their dog under close control – Dogs are naturally inquisitive, especially around livestock, other dogs and people. The countryside code highlights that dogs should be kept under close control and it’s good practiceto ensure a dog is trained to respond to its owner or keeper’s commands and walks close by. If a dog wanders off out of site and doesn’t come back when called, then it should be walked on a lead

Keep their dog on a lead near livestock – Dogs should be kept on a lead and walked a good distance from livestock. Cows can be inquisitive and suspicious of dogs, especially when they have their calves with them. If cows do start acting aggressively, the dog should be allowed to go free to safety and the owners leave the field as quickly as possible. Owners and keepers should be aware that a farmer is legally entitled to shoot a dog if they can’t stop it chasing or worrying their farm animals.

 Whilst respecting a landowners rights the landowner also has a duty to ensure that the ways across their land are free of obstructions.

 Obstructions most commonly reported include:-

  • • Locked and tied gates;
  • • Dangerous and broken access furniture;
  • • Hedgerows;
  • • Barbed wire and electric fences;
  • • Buildings and structures;
  • • Manure and slurry;
  • • Aggressive dogs;
  • • Animal/bird pens.

If you come across an obstruction while out using your local public rights of way, you are totally entitled to try and remove it just enough for you to be able to pass but you must be careful not to cause any damage or create a situation where livestock could escape. Instead, if you can, walk around the obstruction on an alternative safe route and rejoin it as soon as you can. The main thing to remember is not to cause damage to anything and make sure you’ll be able to safely leave and rejoin the public right of way. If there’s not an alternative route available it’s probably best to retrace your steps.

Finally, if you find a problem please remember that you can contact the Parish Rights of Way Officer as well as logging onto the Dorset for You web site and navigating to the Rights of Way Section where you can make a detailed report of the problem you have encountered.

Above all enjoy walking the ancient paths around our village! 

Stan Darley

Chetnole Parish Rights of Way Officer